Madam Speaker, I too must congratulate the member on his tenacity when it comes to this issue because, in an earlier parliament, he introduced a similar bill. He made certain amendments in response to comments made in the House.
Today, we have a bill that is, all in all, very acceptable. I would immediately say to the member that he has the full support of the Bloc Quebecois in his efforts to have the criminal code amended.
I am the third member to speak. Those members of the House who are listening are aware of the bill and the amendments. I just want to remind them, and I will do this quickly, that the primary purpose of the bill is to protect some very vulnerable people, children, from actions of adults which are completely unacceptable.
I think that, of all the offences mentioned in the criminal code, those involving child pornography, using children for sexual purposes, are the most serious. Amending the criminal code to permit the seizure of any thing used by the offender for child pornography, for these very reprehensible actions, has my full support.
As the Canadian Alliance member noted, many of Canada's statutes, including the criminal code, provide for the seizure of certain property in certain cases.
I will give an example familiar to everyone, from the Tobacco Act. When people smuggle cigarettes, when they have contraband cigarettes in a vehicle, the vehicle is seized because it was being used to break the law, to seek to commit an offence.
Why not apply this to computer equipment, since more and more people have computers, and computers are more and more powerful, and can yield far more information? Why not allow police forces and the justice system to seize these assets?
Was a mistake made when the government amended section 163 in a previous parliament without allowing such a seizure? Perhaps it was, and perhaps not. At that time, I did not consider it a priority or a goal in itself to seize computers that had been used to view images of child pornography. Today, however, I think we need to conclude that yes, seizing these assets that have been used by the offender would be a normal thing to do.
The wording would, I believe, allow this to dovetail very nicely with the section of the criminal code. It is also in keeping with the philosophy of the criminal code and related legislation allowing police and crown prosecutors to impose a sentence on the individual who has been found guilty, to impose a fine, but, more importantly, it sends a fairly strong signal that computers are not intended for such purposes and that individuals caught using them for those purposes stand to have their computer confiscated.
The important point the member has added in his bill, from the remarks made in the House when Bill C-321 was introduced, concerns the restrictions on the assets of third parties in order to protect people who lend their computer to a friend or employers who are not aware what employees are doing at lunch with office equipment. Just like that, because the individual is caught at child pornography sites, the computer loaned by a friend or belonging to the employer is confiscated.
Subsection 163.2(2) included in the bill provides a restriction to the effect that the equipment or computers will not be seized because they belong to a third party who was unaware of the use being made of them.
At the time, when we debated the bill in the House, this was our greatest concern. Today, we note that, on the whole, the remarks and adjustments made in this clause with respect to the amendment of the criminal code fully satisfy the concerns of the Bloc Quebecois.
Accordingly, we offer the hon. member our full co-operation and support this approach. We hope that we will find these amendments in the criminal code one day.