Madam Speaker, in February 2002, Mr. Justice Shaw of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, using whatever logic or rationale that may have prevailed on that particular day, ruled that the written works of acknowledged pedophile Robin Sharpe, which depicted young children in various sexual poses, depicted young children as victims of sexual violence, and depicted young children being brutally exploited sexually by adults, “had artistic merit” and acquitted Robin Sharpe of the charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.
This came as an absolutely unbelievable court decision to millions of Canadians. It fuelled the fires of doubt about whether their justice system was working for society. It fuelled the storm of protests over the decisions that we see coming out of our justice system. It fuelled the storm of protests over the mounting judicial activism that has been happening in our country for the last 10 years because governments, such as the Liberal government, do not have the guts to make controversial law and legislation in this Parliament, but rather they would take the cowardly way out and leave it to the judges to make these decisions and expect Canadians to just sit back, abide by some very sick decisions, such as this one here, and accept that because it came from the courts it must be right.
This has not happened by accident. I believe that the push to get controversial or publicly sensitive legislation out of Parliament started way back when Pierre Elliott Trudeau was the Prime Minister of Canada. He and his government put through legislation and he led the charge through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms so that Parliament would never have to make controversial decisions that would make it uncomfortable or nervous. It would be left in the hands of the courts to decide.
The government now brings in Bill C-20 that is supposed to fix this. The defence that it is trying to fix is that the representation or written material has artistic merit or is for educational, scientific or medical purposes. It was certainly the defence used in the case of Robin Sharpe, which Chief Justice Shaw accepted, for whatever insane reason, and certainly, not for the good of society.
Now instead of using the artistic merit, educational, scientific or medical purposes defence, the new bill, which is supposed to fix this thing, proposes that this defence be repealed and replaced by the defence that the material alleged to constitute child pornography serves the public good. This is amazing.
Every sane person in the country could understand that we simply could not attach the phrase “serving the public good” to materials that depict the sexual exploitation of children or the brutality of children by sexual predators either in drawn form or written word. My God, how can we imagine that Canada could accept that a defence could be used that could describe child pornography as serving the public good?
Only a Liberal government that has failed Canadian on so many justice issues since 1993, could come up with a bill like this.
They are not alone. The Liberals on the other side who support the bill, will stand up and say that we have to be careful and that we have to try to determine that maybe there might be some public good in child pornography. They will stand up and vote for the bill. They will be joined by their friends in the NDP party. The member for Palliser has already given notice on this. January 27, the member for Palliser said, and he believed that his colleagues shared his opinion, that:
--if it has not specifically hurt a minor in the production of it, if it is created by people's visual imaginations and if the main purpose of it is not simply about pornography and sexual exploitation, then under the laws people do have a right to their own imaginations and thoughts, however perverse...
That reflects the opinion of the member for Palliser and as he said, “I believe it will be shared by a majority”, of whom, I do not know. It is certainly not rational thinking Canadians but maybe that does not include supporters of the NDP party. However it will shared by a majority if not all of his colleagues. Therefore we are talking about not rationally thinking Canadians.
Mr. David Matas of Winnipeg wrote an opinion on child pornography and artistic merit. Apparently this person is a Winnipeg lawyer. He argued the Sharpe case in the Supreme Court of Canada for an organization called Beyond Borders, which is a leading fighter against child pornography in Canada. He is a very knowledgeable person.
Mr. Matas said that the defence of artistic merit, which is in the legislation now and in the court system now, needed to be narrowed so that only in the case of police officers using child pornography that was drawn or written as evidence in a case against the child pornographer or cases like that could it be allowed. Certainly not the possession by some of these perverts that are running around our country preying on our children.
I am absolutely disgusted at the lack of knowledge that the Liberal government has about how society feels about child pornography. It is a disgusting lack of leadership by the government and we certainly cannot support the bill.
Speaking of disgusting acts, I cannot sit down before I tell the House about something that happened the last two nights in the Bell Centre in Montreal. Some of the fans were booing the American national anthem and booing the presence of American based teams playing in Canada. This as one of the most disgusting and embarrassing things I have ever seen Canadians do. One has to wonder where their priorities are--