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House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pornography.

Topics

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1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thought I had made myself clear but obviously I did not. I think the motion is a good motion and that it should be supported, as Bill C-20 should be supported. The motion reads:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should protect our children from further sexual exploitation by immediately eliminating from child pornography laws all defences for possession of child pornography which allow for the exploitation of children.

I agree with that and I think Bill C-20 does exactly that. Now I understand that the members in the official opposition do not agree that Bill C-20 does in fact do what their motion calls for but I disagree with them. I think Bill C-20 does do what the motion calls for.

Therefore I think the motion is a good one. I support it and I support Bill C-20.

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1:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member directly whether she will be voting yes to the motion tonight. She said that she supports it but that she also supports Bill C-20. Some of us have been left with the impression that perhaps that may be an out; that supporting Bill C-20, the government's bill on this issue, would then allow for her to take an out on this.

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1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is ascribing Machiavellian characteristics to me that simply are not there. Anyone who has seen me and listened to me in the House since 1997 knows that I am very direct. If I say I support the motion, it means I support the motion, which means that when the vote is called I vote in favour.

I am amazed that it was not clear to members of the opposite side. The only thing I can believe is that they are ascribing to me characteristics that they themselves have, which is non-clarity and Machiavellian philosophy and characteristics. I am very direct. If I say I support something I support it.

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1:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, for those who are listening, we are having one of those but discussions in the House of Commons; that is, I agree but something else is changing my mind.

It is a wonder Canadians can listen to this. It must be frustrating for them. What is wrong with this philosophy is that members on both sides agree and yet the government stands up and says that it agrees but that it cannot do that right now for some reason. The difference between this side and that side is that we want to see some action, not just words.

I have long felt that the country is into a moral and ethical crisis on a number of issues, some of which were mentioned. Even on the issue of prostitution, which the government says should not be legalized, the Liberals have a bill in the House right now that would anticipate legalizing prostitution under the name of harm reduction. We have heard that before on drugs.

I am here to say that prostitution is not a form of harm reduction. It is a form of abuse of women. The difficulty I have is that on that side the members say that they do not feel that prostitution should be put into legislation, and yet they are working on it. That is one of those but discussions.

It is the same with the age of sexual consent. I just heard the parliamentary secretary say that the age of sexual consent was too low and that she was more than prepared to raise it but that we could not do it right now because we have to work on that one. The Liberals have had 10 years in government. If they are prepared to raise it, why can they not raise it?

I could give a litany of the issues I have dealt with concerning younger kids under the age of sexual consent who are living with four or five men over the age of 30 and 40 who are using them to sell drugs, using them for sex and using them to sell themselves. Does the House know why they do it? They do it because 14, 15 and 16 year olds are young offenders.

The government says that the age of 14 and over is the age of sexual consent. That is the problem with it. We have been explaining that for 10 years. Yes, the Liberals agree with it but they will not change it.

We have seen a litany of other issues in the House. Drugs is one of the issues in which I have been involved from day one. The government says that it does not agree with drugs and that it does not want to promote that idea, and yet it promotes the idea of an injection site, not just in Vancouver but in Toronto and Montreal as well.

What the government is saying is that it disagrees with people using drugs but then it promotes the idea of having a place to shoot up in a bubble zone around that place. What kind of contradiction of terms is the Government of Canada presenting to us? These are contradictions.

I want to talk about pornography but I also want to mention the sex offender registry, the legislation that I actually wrote three and a half years ago. When we as an opposition party introduced it in the House of Commons all we heard was that we do not need it because we already have it. Guess what the Liberals did? They created a sex offender registry, after being dragged through the knot hole by every victim's rights groups, police associations and the Canadian Alliance. It is unbelievable that they can stand there and say that we can have this, but.

I want to talk about pornography which is the topic of the motion introduced by my colleague. One of the interesting things in Bill C-20, the bill on pornography, is the issuance of maximum sentencing. The government did the very same thing with the marijuana legislation; maximum sentencing.

By the way, Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar.

Maximum sentences are okay. However it is minimum sentences that are the problem. When we bring up issues in child pornography legislation and say that we will toughen it up and give maximum sentences, that is the upper limit.

I want to bring forward a case, and although I do not like reading it I ask the House to consider it. If the government were to give maximum sentences for child pornography and not minimum sentences, then why on earth would a judge hand out such a sentence. Let me read this case to the House.

Members of the OPP child pornography unit are outraged that the Ontario Court of Appeal shot down the crown's attempt to appeal a house arrest given to a Newmarket man convicted of possession and distribution of vile and disgusting child pornography.

Randy Weber, the man who had the pornography, was convicted last February of possession and distribution of images of little children being bound, gagged and forced to have sex with men. He was given a conditional sentence of 14 months, otherwise known as house arrest. He was basically told to go home and think about what he had done.

The government has been telling us that it is going to give maximum sentences. What is the good of a maximum sentence if the judge will not apply it? A conditional sentence for something of this nature is unacceptable.

To continue on, among the images viewed in court by the justice was one that revealed a four year old child, weeping and struggling, with her hands bound and her neck leashed with a dog collar while an adult male sexually assaulted her. Another image revealed an eight year old girl, tied, gagged, blindfolded and hung upside down. The video clip with sound revealed a toddler who could be heard weeping and yelling “stop, stop, stop”. The judge on that case gave the minimum sentence: a conditional sentence. The man was told to go home and think about what he had done.

If the government really believes that child pornography is a bad thing, then it must do something constructive about it. It should not talk about giving maximum sentences if the courtrooms of Canada are only giving minimums.

What I just read to the House is totally unacceptable. The government should be doing something about this. It should raise the floor on the sentences. People with this kind of disgusting behaviour should not be let off with conditional sentences.

What is wrong is that there are many of these cases. The government has said that Bill C-20 would provide maximum sentences but that is not good enough. That is just a charade.

The government has talked about providing maximum sentences in drug cases. The Prime Minister has agreed to maximum sentences but that an individual can have a joint in one hand, a fine in the other and pay that fine any time he wants and nobody will pay any attention to the drugs. Maximum sentences are not good enough. Minimums are the order of the day.

A control room operator at the Bruce nuclear plant was sentenced to one year in jail yesterday for possession and distribution of disgusting, degrading and haunting computer images of child pornography and nude women who appear to have been hideously murdered. The court heard that computer images showing children being raped by adults were among some of the things that had actually happened. The fellow received a year in jail and will be out within six to seven months. That is all the time he has received for that crime, and yet the government has said it is looking after this issue and will give maximum sentences.

The problem is that our society has a moral and an ethical crisis on its hands and the legislation being delivered into the House of Commons is not adequate.

I will give members one last situation.

I visit prisons on fairly frequent occasions. I walked into a maximum security prison the other day where sex offenders are imprisoned. On the floors, the ceilings and the walls of these cells were very explicit pictures of women and children. I asked the warden why this was so. After all, they have rules that say they cannot have these on the cell walls. He apologized and said that they would be taken down. Where are the rules from the government?

I know my time is over. I can only say, that these bills, which come through the House, are so much drivel unless they actually mean something to the average Canadian and victims on the street, and they do not.

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1:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's speech very intensely. I too have travelled quite extensively to prisons, normally with the member for Wild Rose, the member who introduced this motion. I have seen what the other member described on prison walls and on ceilings. I also agree in regard to the sentencing.

Does the member recall when the laws were changed? We could go right back to capital punishment when people were supposed to get 25 years or life imprisonment. The problem with Canada today is there is no such thing as truth in sentencing. When the government says that it will put the maximum sentence in force, it absolutely gives no confidence to the Canadian public as a whole.

After sitting through some of the police evidence, as the member has done, and having seen some of the sickening details that were presented to us, I do not know how a government with any conscience could allow this to keep on going. To say that it will be addressed by the courts and not by us in the House is wrong.

What is the member's outlook on truth in sentencing?

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1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague brought that up because truth in sentencing is exactly what most of the victims of crime see as a big problem. The government comes in and says that it will give a maximum, let us say nine years, for some of the things that I read in the House. An individual would get nine years but he is guaranteed to be out in six years. He is very likely to be out walking the streets on escorted temporary absences or unescorted temporary absences within two years, and so on and so forth.

The further difficulty with that is sex offenders, who have about a 40% recidivism rate, are put into facilities based on nine year sentences, knowing the offenders will get out in likely three or four years. They are cascaded down so fast that they do not get enough rehabilitation to prepare for the street again.

What we are doing is turning sex offenders back out in the street unprepared for society because the sentence that society thought the offenders had in the first place was a lot less than what they actually got.

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1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, today I speak in favour of the Canadian Alliance brought forward by the member for Wild Rose, a motion to address the growing problem surrounding child pornography.

I have spoken in the House many times on issues that frustrate me, bother me and annoy me, but this one sickens me. I do not think it is because I am a mother or a grandmother, or even a female. I believe the idea of child pornography sickens most Canadians.

I attended a briefing sponsored by the member for Wild Rose where we met frontline police officers from Toronto who must track down and prosecute the makers and distributors of child pornography. These officers must view every picture, number it and catalogue it. The stress that this causes was indescribable. We saw some of those pictures, which they see on a daily basis, and I have not been able to drive those disturbing images from my memory ever since. They are truly sickening. They are extremely unsettling.

These are the same officers who must spend hours and hours a day viewing these disturbing images. Their commitment to our children is the only comfort that they get from their task. The Government of Canada must respond to their appeals for more law enforcement resources. We need to change Canada's laws to ensure that those who distribute and use child pornography are prosecuted.

Despite the empty arguments of those who support child pornography, it is not possible to make this material without causing harm. It is no different than any other form of child abuse.

One female victim of child pornography wrote:

When I was 8 years old my father made me look at pictures that showed girls doing sexual things to men in books. I went along with him, not knowing any better. He continued to rape me and use me for 4 years while using these books. Now at 16 I have found that I have a serious STD that has no cure. I have been with no one but my father. What will I tell my husband someday? I may die from this disease. Pornography has ruined my life.

She is 16 years old. How people who engage in this behaviour can believe they are normal is beyond me. How can a father give his 12 year old daughter a sexually transmitted disease not get her to a doctor for help? These actions harm the affected children for many years to come.

Another young victim wrote:

I am 13 years old. You could say that I am an average teenager, except for one fact. I am a victim of pornography. When I was very small, my real Dad sexually abused me while he was watching a pornographic video. I lost my innocence to my real Dad when he chose to use me for his own self-fulfilling needs. The things he did to me happened while he watched pornography. What did I do to deserve this? I go through times of depression, confusion, anorexia and guilt. My Mom says it was not my fault, but I still wonder--wasn't I good enough or perfect enough. I am finding that there are many others like me. People say there is no harm to pornography. I say they are wrong.

Victims of this sexual abuse do their best to avoid repeating the cycle, but the statistics tell us they are not as successful as one would hope. Most victims are saddled with a lifetime of insecurity, mistrust, sexual dysfunction, sexual addictions, intimacy issues and all the related stress and health disorders.

One victim wrote:

When I was six years old my Great Uncle started showing me pictures of men and women in all kinds of pornographic situations. As a child of divorced and busy parents I was so eager for any kind of attention I could get--even his kind. He started out teaching me to masturbate (so I wouldn't be physically damaged when he started to molest me). I only saw him every other week or so but by the time I was seven when we (my mom, my grandmother and I) moved in with him, I knew everything that was in those magazines and how to do them.

He started molesting me soon after we moved in and of course he wanted to do everything that those people did. I just tried to pretend I wasn't there. This knowledge damaged me for most of my life. We lived there for a year and I finally told a friend what was happening and she convinced me it wasn't my fault and that I should tell my father. Well my Dad got the abuse stopped by threatening to go to court with it but then finally had to take over my custody because my Mom didn't believe me and let my uncle come over to the house around me again.

Through me teenage years I abused alcohol and was very promiscuous. My view of myself was very warped. I married my husband at 17 and because of this degrading view of myself I continued to abuse alcohol and started a long string of affairs. I felt I was nothing more than a hooker so I acted like one.

Well to make a long story short 7 years ago I found I was pregnant and I didn't know if it was my husband's or the other man I was seeing at the time. I called my husband to ask him what to do (we were only a signature away from divorce) and God was in control. This man who had seen me cheat and lie to him still didn't want a divorce. He wanted to reconcile and raise the child together as a family. Well being responsible for someone other than myself woke me up and I was determined to be a better parent to my child than mine were.

What should we do as a society and a government to stop this? We can crack down on the people who produce and distribute child pornography as a first step.

In fact in a recent survey of my constituents, when asked if those caught with child pornography should be included in a national sex offender registry, 98% said, yes. Support for raising the age of consent from 14 years to 16 years was almost unanimous, at 96%. Many even suggested raising it to 18.

When asked if pornography increased the likelihood of child sexual exploitation, 88% agreed and of my constituents who responded to the survey, 100% wanted child pornography banned in Canada.

I would like to go back to the issue of the national sex offender registry and the inclusion of producers and distributors of child pornography.

The Canadian Alliance has called for such a registry for a long time. Unfortunately, the Liberal government has responded with a pathetic, watered down version. It is unbelievable that the John Robin Sharpes of this world will not be placed on the list.

Every living person who has been convicted of a sex crime should be included in the registry for life. I am looking forward to hearing the Liberal reasoning why they should not be.

How we deal with the issue of child pornography is not a measure of our freedoms of expression, but it is a measure of how much importance we place on the protection of our children.

While not everyone who looks at pornography is a rapist or pedophile, virtually every single rapist and pedophile is caught with pornography and often it includes child pornography. We know that viewing large quantities of pornography provides its reader with a distorted view of the real world around them. It skews their normal social relations. Why would we not take the opportunity to prevent this when given the chance?

Many of those who view large quantities of pornography do not even know they are in trouble.

Here is Tom's story:

As a former addict, there is no question in my mind that pornography has a profound impact on a person viewing the material. It is subtle and has a latency period, not always an immediate impact, on the individual. My sexual addiction reached its height when I finally decided to act out all those images I had been taking in over the years...I was arrested for attempted rape. The attack was my responsibility, but there is no doubt that pornography was the fuel, the drug I used to prepare for my crime. I do not think the crime would ever have occurred without it.

We have a chance today to do something good for both the victims and the perpetrators of child pornography. We have a chance to make our communities safer, our children safer.

I encourage my colleagues to stand up in support of the motion and make a very positive difference today for all Canadians.

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1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague gave some heart wrenching stories.

The real issue at heart in our debate today is that we are not dealing with only another bill or law. It is at a completely different level than when we debate whether or not taxes should be at 16% or 17%. Today we are dealing with the very heart and life of individuals.

When I think of the implications of the outcome of the vote today, I cannot think of any reason why anyone on the other side would hesitate to vote in favour of the motion and then do everything possible to implement the terms of the motion.

Does my colleague have any comment on the fact that the Liberal members at this stage seem to have dropped out of the debate? There has been nothing but speeches from the Canadian Alliance for the last number of hours. The Liberals have had nothing to say. Obviously they are caught in a quandary. They cannot defend Bill C-20, yet for some reason they are hesitant to participate and say that this is a good motion and let us go for it.

I would appreciate my colleague's comments on the lack of participation by the Liberals on this very important issue.

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1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing is a lack of leadership by the Liberal government. We are looking at their inability to stand up and say to Canadians that they will do something right for a change. The Liberals are taking the lamb position and saying that they will follow what the minister is telling them to do. They will not do what is right for Canadian children.

The hon. member for Wild Rose brought the police officers from Toronto and all that was needed was to see the pictures of those beautiful little children being abused so badly. I will never get that little girl's blue eyes out of my mind for as long as I live. I will never forget the beautiful little girl with the blonde curly hair being abused so badly.

That the Liberal members do not stand up for our children I think is indefensible. For them to state that Bill C-20 will handle these atrocities is a disgusting display of what the Liberal members believe in.

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1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Werner Schmidt Canadian Alliance Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was quite impressed with the speech of my colleague. I was particularly impressed with the graphic description and stories that some people tell about their lives.

I cannot help but recall the provision in Bill C-20 that amends the Criminal Code to actually agree that there shall be a defence of the possession of child pornography if it is in the public good.

I ask every colleague in the House, having listened to the kind of stories that my hon. colleague has expressed to us, how could anyone in their right mind ever consider anything like that to be in the public good? How could that somehow lift the moral feelings of people? How could that somehow encourage ethical behaviour? How could it somehow create greater commitment to family life, greater love and appreciation for members of the family? How could anything like that ever be in the public good?

Would my colleague speak to that? It seems to me there is something extremely warped in making that kind of a comment.

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1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, there should not be any provision for artistic merit in child pornography. I believe that every child is very valuable. Child pornography is not anything that I would ever want any artist to bring forward or show Canadians. What I saw from the police officers in Toronto was absolutely disgusting and vile. The people who do that are sex offenders from the very start.

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1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Last week I asked a question in question period of the Secretary of State for Western Economic Diversification and he responded by sending me a letter which he tabled in the House in both official languages. I have responded to the secretary of state and I would therefore like to table my response in the House in both official languages.

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1:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is there unanimous consent for the hon. member for St. Albert to table his response?

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1:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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1:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the motion before us is a very important one. We have discussed this subject matter on a couple of occasions. Bill C-20 brought substantial debate to this place with regard to matters such as artistic merit, public good, exploitation, et cetera.

The essence of the motion is that all defences for the possession of child pornography be eliminated. It is an excellent idea and we should do it. We understand that law enforcement officers and others who are working to resolve or deal with the issue would be authorized to have possession, but it is those who would exploit children through that possession who are the targets.

I am told that a total crackdown on child pornography is happening in other jurisdictions, for example, in the U.K. From the type of responses it is getting, it is sending out a strong message of deterrence and a message that embraces public protection. It is probably the biggest change from what I can see in the Canadian experience. That is why I believe that in itself it is what we should be doing in Canada.

In our justice system sentences available to judges should send a message of deterrence, keeping in mind the balance necessary at least to try to rehabilitate. In this case, with regard to the issues of child pornography and individuals who engage in the manufacture, production and proliferation of child pornography, just as those involved in pedophilia and sexual assaults, the chances for rehabilitation are very small.

Mr. Speaker, I neglected to mention I am going to split my time with the member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge.

If there is very little chance of rehabilitation, then clearly the emphasis has to be put on public protection. I think that is what the member for Wild Rose has been telling this place for years. It is about time we listened to him.

There was a question posed during the debate on Bill C-30, which I think in itself was a very good debate. The question was what possible public good or merit could be found in something that exploits children? How is it that lawyers actually come up with this terminology? How do they think the public would respond when someone is trying to play both sides of the fence rather than taking a position? What ever happened to a proactive legislative system that addressed problems in a proactive way, rather than trying to be all things to all people at all times? It means that we more often fail than we pass the test of whether or not our legislation is effective.

Points of OrderGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise again on a point of order, I think you will find that there is unanimous consent among the parties now for me to table the letter, my response to the Secretary of State for Western Economic Diversification, in both official languages.

Points of OrderGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Does the hon. member for St. Albert have unanimous consent to table his response?

Points of OrderGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

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October 28th, 2003 / 1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, in looking back at some of that debate, another statement caught my attention and it probably is reflective of the attitude of the House. That is that the public good, whatever that nebulous concept is, can never be served where there is a tolerance for child pornography. The existence of that tolerance is really at issue.

I do not think there is any more important issue we could address when it comes to the protection of children, those who are unable to protect themselves, those who would be the victims of exploitation. We have to be their voice. Where is the leadership? Have we shown leadership? How can we show leadership? We have to ask those questions.

I asked a question earlier of the member for Wild Rose. In my experience it appears that lawyers look at these questions in a very sterile environment and a very mechanical way. They do not seem to be very reflective of social and moral values. They do not seem to be sensitive to the victim. They seem to continue to look for ways to argue how to balance the interests of the victim and the perpetrator because of the charter of rights.

Where exactly does the charter of rights say that it is more important to balance the interests of a criminal and a victim? I thought the charter was there to protect the affirmative rights of Canadians, the rights to be protected. How did the paradigm shift and all of a sudden the charter has been interpreted in so many different ways? How is it that we are now seized with the issue of judicial activism?

On same sex marriage issues, what happened in the Ontario Court of Appeal that after hearing the pronouncement of the Supreme Court of Canada three judges could say that the traditional definition of marriage being the legal union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others is unconstitutional? Marriage existed before the Constitution. How could something be unconstitutional?

We are in a spiral. When these issues come forward where charter arguments have been made, it is clear that we are losing the battle unless we seize the day. We need to seize the day. We need to express ourselves in a manner which reflects not only the founding principles of justice, but also which fairly reflects the social, moral and family values of Canadians.

Who in this place is not going to put the interests of a child ahead of the interests of a perpetrator or someone who possesses child pornography? Who is going to balance that?

When the Supreme Court of Canada dealt with the abortion issue, it made a decision to put the rights of the mother ahead of the rights of the unborn child. It was not a matter of when life begins. It was not a matter of was there a child or were there rights for that child. The judges did not decide. They did not opine on that. They made a decision that they would put the rights of one party ahead of another.

If we can do that, if the courts can do that, why can we not put the rights of children ahead of the rights of those who possess child pornography? Why do we have to balance it? We did not balance the interests of the unborn. We do not have to.

If that is the way it works, let us apply the laws consistently. Let us make sure that the rights of children are put ahead of the rights of those who believe there is some artistic merit, who somehow believe there is some public good in what they do. The very existence of child pornography necessarily means that a child has been abused. I do not know if there is a member in this place who would not agree with that.

Why is it then that we cannot embrace a motion like this one which effectively reflects that commitment, that understanding and that support? We all have to support this motion to send a message to those in the justice system, to send a message to the courts so that Parliament, the supreme court of the land will have its views known. Then we can effectively deal with the erosion of the rights of Canadians because of judicial activism.

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1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

We will now move on to members' statements. The hon. member for Mississauga South will have five minutes remaining in questions and comments after question period.

Don DeaconStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour and pay tribute to a well-known Charlottetown resident, Don Deacon, who died in Charlottetown on September 16.

Don Deacon embodied the concept of service to this country and the people who live here. He gave freely of his time and resources without thought of his own benefit.

After returning from serving his country during the second world war, Don Deacon volunteered for a variety of organizations, of which I will name only a few. He was national commissioner of Scouts Canada, the founding co-chair of the Katimavik youth program, director of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation, founding president of Island Trails, and president of the Prince Edward Island Region of the Red Cross. He received the Order of Canada for his service and was named P.E.I. Red Cross Humanitarian of the year last March.

After a successful career in business and politics in Ontario, he relocated to Prince Edward Island about 20 years ago and quickly became one of our most cherished citizens.

His warmth and caring were legendary and he will be sorely missed. On behalf of this House, we offer our sympathy to his wife Florence and to his family.

Rural Woman of the YearStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to a constituent of mine: Anthea Archer. Anthea, along with her husband Darrel, was caught up in the unfortunate consequences of mad cow disease when a reported case in Denmark meant the destruction of their water buffalo herd by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency a couple of years ago.

This scenario sounds all too familiar to beef producers across the country, who are still waiting for the government to persuade the Americans to open the border, and to alpaca and llama farmers in my riding, who, amazingly, have also had their wool exports curtailed because of this mess.

Despite an uncaring federal government and little help from traditional financial institutions, Anthea has been tenacious in her desire to stick to the original plan and, with her husband, build the first water buffalo herd in Canada. This innovative entrepreneurial business will provide cheese and meat, low in fat and rich in protein.

Anthea recently received the Rural Woman of the Year award from the South Vancouver Island Women's Institute. I salute her as a Canadian who has shown much grace under fire and the ability to move on in spite of the challenges she has faced. I say well done, Anthea. We in the Cowichan Valley are proud of her work.

Assisted Human ReproductionStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, for too long Canadian women and their children have waited for Parliament to pass legislation on assisted human reproduction and genetic technologies.

Bill C-13 is the result of more than a decade of careful consideration and consultation that is designed to protect the health and safety of women and the children born to them through assisted human reproduction.

This legislation is all about hope: hope for couples struggling with infertility and hope for Canadians with disabilities such as Parkinson's, MS and leukemia. And let us not forget the children born with juvenile diabetes, who would benefit from research into the use of stem cells to treat these diseases. An open letter released on October 25 by 65 leading health care experts calls on Parliament to pass Bill C-13.

As parliamentarians, we have a responsibility to put in place a framework to regulate aspects of reproductive technology and to act now in the best interests of hundreds of Canadian families who have waited so long for this to happen.