Mr. Speaker, I will continue my speech from yesterday. When I was interrupted, I was speaking about Cybertip.ca.
This company also compiles statistics on child pornography in Canada. Every month, Cybertip.ca receives approximately 800,000 hits on its website and triages over 700 reports. Approximately 45% of these reports are then forwarded to law enforcement.
As of June 2009, Cybertip.ca had triaged over 33,000 reports since becoming Canada’s national tip line in 2002. Over this period, more than 90% of the reports received by Cybertip.ca were related to child pornography. At least 30 arrests have resulted from these reports, approximately 3,000 websites have been shut down and, most importantly, children have been removed from abusive environments.
When they appeared before committee, Cybertip.ca’s representatives mentioned that, in the first year since becoming the designated agency for receiving reports of child pornography under Manitoba’s mandatory reporting legislation, Cybertip.ca saw a 126% increase in reporting, and 17 of those reports led to the identification of children or perpetrators.
Before I conclude, I would like to talk about the penalties proposed in the bill. Pursuant to Bill C-22, which is before us today, individuals, or sole proprietors, would be liable to a fine of not more than $1,000 for a first offence; a fine of not more than $5,000 for a second offence; and a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or both, for each subsequent offence.
Corporations and other entities would also be liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 for the first offence, a fine of not more than $50,000 for the second offence and a fine of not more than $100,000 for each subsequent offence. This two-level penalty system takes into account the diversity of the Internet service sector in Canada, where there are just as many sole proprietorships as there are multinational corporations.
Some might feel that these penalties are light, but we have to remember that this bill complements all of the existing measures to protect our children against sexual exploitation, including the harsh penalties provided for in the Criminal Code for child pornography offences.
This bill sends a message to those who provide Internet services to the public that they have a social and moral obligation, and now also a legal one, to report the existence of this heinous material when they become aware of it.
We believe that the penalties provided for in this bill would allow us to balance the objective of the bill with its effectiveness. In order to achieve the objective of this bill, to better protect children, the government wants to ensure that all Internet service providers in Canada abide by the law, not just the major Internet service providers who already voluntarily declare such cases and assist the police.
What those watching us now must understand is that there are individuals who provide Internet services and there are, of course, large corporations that provide the same services. So we created two types of offences and two types of progressive fines. We wanted to ensure that we identified all of the cases in which an individual or a corporation might host child pornography sites or might fail to report a child pornography site.
According to representatives of Cybertip.ca, mandatory reporting of child pornography helps prevent personal and professional dilemmas related to reporting this kind of material. It ensures compliance with the law and ensures that quick, appropriate action is taken. Taking a closer look at the current role of Cybertip.ca as a designated organization under the Manitoba legislation on mandatory reporting is helpful in understanding how to explain the provisions of Bill C-22. This is what I was saying earlier.
In closing, I would like to make a final point. I recently had the opportunity to go to Palermo, where the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe was meeting. I was representing Canada, along with other members of our delegation. We supported the same bill that we have here before us. We summarized it in a few lines and asked the entire European community to approve it. Some 54 countries were represented by their elected officials.
It was a victory for Canada: the resolution on that bill was the only one that passed unanimously. We are making progress in the fight against child pornography. Of course we had to explain our bill and urge the members of the other delegations, elected officials like me, to vote in favour of the bill. Many of the areas that produce pornographic sites were in certain Asian or Middle Eastern countries. We needed to send a clear message that we would no longer tolerate these sites, which come to Canada and the United States through major systems. We no longer want children, whether their children or our children, to be exploited on Internet sites that disseminate child pornography, nor do we want three- to five-year-old children doing such degrading things.
That was our argument and, at the risk of repeating myself, we won: our resolution was the only one that was unanimously adopted by that Parliamentary Assembly, which includes the European Community. We do not always win, but we won in that case. I want the public to know that Canada can be proud. We are at the forefront of the fight against child pornography.