Madam Speaker, I too commend my colleague from Lethbridge for bringing forward this very important bill. I know he has worked very hard behind the scenes gathering support from many organizations, groups, police associations and those involved in having to deal with the issue firsthand.
I am encouraged tonight by the debate I have heard in the House from members of all parties who have spoken in favour of the bill. It is fitting that we would be debating this topic on the evening where we also, as was indicated by my hon. colleague from Saint John and others, worked together to support the creation of a national registry for sex offenders. It is a great accomplishment that we have been able to achieve together in the House.
Some of the debate was a little off topic today and somewhat partisan at times, but for the most part it was not. That is encouraging. The legislation fits very much into that very same category. Who could stand in the House and defend child pornography? No one has tonight and no one will. We understand the seriousness of the issue. The bill being brought forward by my colleague is another tool being offered as a way to combat a very serious issue.
By focusing on important issues, it is time that we work together in the House. We must look to build with each other on the commonalities, across party lines, including government members, to solve the issues before us. That is what people are looking for, from those of us who have been sent as leaders to this place. It is with passion, conviction and strength of mind that we must work together to solve these very serious issues.
The issue of child pornography is one that has a very great implication. Our children are our greatest resource. There is nothing we could hold more dear than the health and well-being of our children, the next generation coming up behind us, not only for ourselves as individuals, as members, as families and as communities but for the future of our country.
A big part of the health of our children has to with protecting them. We only have the opportunity to live as children once in this life. We have all experienced that. We are involved in the joys, triumphs, tragedies and moment to moment involvements with children in our families, or those without children with relatives. We know this is a very important thing to focus our attention on.
We know there are individuals involved in activities that will harm children. Child pornography is one of them. My colleague, the member for Erie—Lincoln, the parliamentary secretary, raised some very good points. I agree with what he said on those points.
He mentioned two points about the crime of child pornography creating a permanent record of the abuse of children. For that very reason it is wrong to be participating in such an action. The creation of child pornography creates victims itself. This causes not only great damage for those children who are victims of those crimes, but they are then a part of this permanent record that is being used, abused and displayed on the Internet and other ways. It is at the very hub of this issue.
It violates what is right. It is wrong to be involved in child pornography. It causes children to be abused by creating a permanent record of that. My colleague's bill attempts to address that. The bill attempts to shut this down. It is to be used as a tool to help stop the spread of this issue of child pornography.
I will agree with my colleague from Saint John when she said it was evil. We have the right as members in this place to say such things because it is truly wrong. I believe there is such a thing as right and wrong. Many of my colleagues would agree with this particular point. Let us build on what we can agree on and we can agree. Tonight we heard that we agree child pornography is wrong. This is a bill that is being introduced to help address that.
I was encouraged by my colleague for Erie—Lincoln who said changes will be coming to the criminal code. I can only hope and encourage him to work with his government. We will work together to bring these changes forward, to incorporate this forfeiture clause that my colleague brought forward, so we can help stop the wrongs that are occurring. We can help stop the individuals who are involved in this industry. We can help stop the wrongs that are being perpetrated against our children.
I may have indicated inadvertently in my earlier comment that I do not have children. I would like to correct that because I have four young children. My oldest daughter is 10 and my youngest, who is a son, is four years old. The others are six and eight. This is an issue that strikes at home for me.
I worked for 10 years as an elementary school teacher. I was able to see the need for our children to be protected, not only in our homes and communities but in our institutions like schools and in other areas. Those who attempt to abuse children in this way find their way into those areas of protection that are supposed to be safe havens for our children. We need to be on guard for that. With the tools suggested in this piece of legislation from my colleague from Lethbridge, we need to be able to shut down this kind of activity.
I am encouraged by the agreement tonight from all parties on this issue. In fact, we have agreed that child pornography is wrong. This amendment should move forward and should be put into practice immediately.
Would it not be wonderful if we could do that tonight, on a night where we have already had agreement on a major issue having to do with protecting our children.
We should not wait another day. We should move forward on this issue right away. Our children are our most valued resource. We need to show, not only in our words but in our actions, that we mean that. There is an opportunity to do that tonight. I hope we speak loudly with our words on things that need to be fixed, but even more loudly with our actions.
In closing, I would like to commend my colleague, the member for from Lethbridge, once again. We do not care who gets credit for the idea or the issue, we want to see it put in place no matter where it comes from. That is why I think there would be agreement on this issue from all members. We need to move forward on it.