Mr. Speaker, I mean no disrespect to my colleagues in the NDP who call for criminalization, but it sounds a whole lot as if they have taken the Conservative-Reform agenda, the hang 'em high approach to just about everything.
It is an interesting comparison, but it bears some discussion.
There is a very specific reason why, and the hon. member has alluded to this. There are often small businesses that make mistakes. They may be mistakes that may be repeated. They may be desperate. There are a number of reasons why these things may and can occur. There has to be a modicum of judicial discretion given in those circumstances that does not have a sort of one-size-fits-all approach, to take a howitzer to a very small business.
I can tell the hon. member that I have worked on a number of pieces of legislation where I thought we would use the heavy hand, where we would come at them with everything we had. The reality is that would do nothing to stop the problem, let alone doing undue damage to people who rightfully and unintentionally may have crossed a particular line.
It also speaks to the idea of criminalizing Canadians while, at the same time, allowing international spammers to continue unmolested and beyond the reach of our domestic legislation.
It is for that reason that I think we have to be very careful on how we approach this. I think the sanctions that were envisaged by the industry committee and adopted by all parties including the NDP, on the civil side, did in fact meet the test.
We want to look before we leap. We want to ensure we protect Canadians from Canadian spammers. However, we also have to recognize that some people will make a mistake, and when they do make that mistake, I think it is totally unfair that we should throw the book at them with a criminal sanction. I think we should hit them monetarily because after all that is perhaps the reason that they are in fact engaging in this practice. We should hit them where it hurts, in the pocketbook.