Madam Speaker, I would like to lend my support to Bill C-247, tabled in the House by the hon. member for Lethbridge.
This House was seized with the issue of child pornography, probably polarized mostly by the Sharpe case, the B.C. case where the constitutionality of our laws on the possession of child pornography were challenged in the B.C. court. In fact the court case was lost. As members will recall this was quite outrageous to Canadians at large and certainly to everyone in the House.
However, we have a process and that process led that case, not only through the B.C. Court of Appeal but also right to the Supreme Court of Canada. I think we are all very grateful that the decision of the supreme court upheld the law. However, in a way that raised some interesting questions for the House.
The fact that the member has brought forward a bill that addresses another element of the child pornography issue, probably should remind us that we should continue to work on developing good legislation, step by step, to be sure that we deal with many of the items which hon. members have raised in the debate.
This particular bill seeks to provide the court with the discretion to forfeit anything by means of which, or in relation to which, a child pornography offence was committed. It basically says that the tools of the person who was in possession of or creating child pornography would be forfeited to the crown. There were some questions raised by the parliamentary secretary with regard to this matter, but the questions are resolvable. Fundamentally, the proposal is sound.
As we know this is a non-votable matter. That is unfortunate because when items like this come before the House, especially when they are so important, not only to the members proposing it but to Canadians in this case, there should be a greater debate. Using it as a starting point, we can make it deal with the principle that has been raised by the bill. We can work on the technicalities to make sure that the protection of third parties is dealt with. We can make sure that, for instance, employers are protected in the event that an employee would use employer assets for the perpetration or production of child pornography.
I wanted to lend my voice as support. Members know that today we unanimously passed a resolution before the House to consider the creation of a national registry for sex offenders. It is characteristic that the motion was unanimously endorsed by the House. We all want to be constructive and productive on legislation that will create a safer and healthier environment for our children and our families.
I congratulate the member for bringing this bill forward. I am sorry that it is not votable but I think it is encouraging that the Ministry of Justice has indicated that the principle is a good one and that it will be dealt with by the government. The member should take full credit for it when it happens. I hope that he will.
Private members' business is a maligned part of the business that we do in this place. I cannot say that I am very happy with the way it works. I have seen many good bills come before this place that were not votable and I have seen some questionable bills come before this place that were votable. I am not sure whether the system right now is serving the best interests of the House.
I also lament the fact that so few private members' items ever get through the full cycle of second reading, committee consideration, third reading and report stage, as well as Senate review. It is unfortunate because many good ideas do come forward to this place.
I hope members will remember this particular bill the next time we come around to a debate on the propriety of how we handle private members' business. Perhaps they will use it as an example of just another good idea of members of parliament that somehow have to be set aside for the wrong reasons.
I appreciate the member's thoughtfulness in bringing this bill forward to the House. I think it is important to have every opportunity to talk about issues that are important to Canadians. This is a non-partisan issue. We should be grateful to the member for raising it in the House today.