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Results: 1 - 15 of 15
View Arnold Chan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arnold Chan Profile
2014-09-22 18:01 [p.7675]
Mr. Speaker, I have a question the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, and I thank her for her comments.The government has often taken an approach with respect to legislation such as this in focusing on the punitive or investigatory aspects of its legislation. However, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard I thought raised a particularly important point, which is to focus on the preventive or protective aspects of this legislation.
What would the hon. member suggest should be included to make the bill more palatable?
View Hélène LeBlanc Profile
View Hélène LeBlanc Profile
2014-09-22 18:02 [p.7675]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and for the fact that he recognizes that some bills are designed to punish rather than to prevent. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I have to say that some of the provisions and amendments we suggested would have made the bill easier to stomach, if I can put it that way. Let us be frank: It is not just the official opposition that is saying so. Witnesses appeared before the committee to study this bill and they gave their expert opinion. They are members of civil society and have studied the issue. They are experts and they also agree with the amendments we proposed to make this bill much more acceptable.
View Dany Morin Profile
View Dany Morin Profile
2014-04-28 12:28 [p.4576]
Mr. Speaker, the NDP will be voting in favour of this bill, because it is very similar to the bill introduced by my colleague from Nova Scotia. However, I find the lack of prevention included in the bill really unfortunate.
I understand that the government wanted to focus on criminalization, but could the bill not have been improved by placing greater emphasis on prevention, as well as criminalization?
The House of Commons wants to protect as many young people as possible from the scourge of bullying, and right now, I do not see much in the way of prevention in this bill.
View Randy Hoback Profile
View Randy Hoback Profile
2014-04-28 12:29 [p.4576]
Mr. Speaker, the member brings up a good point. The bill is one part of the equation. I am sure the Minister of Justice and others would agree with this, but I do not want to speak on their behalf.
If we look at this, it is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to cyberbullying. Education as well as the exact things the member is looking for are very important things that we should be considering as we debate the bill through committee.
The reality is we need to ensure we put the tools in place for the police forces so they have the ability to take on these criminals. That does not mean this is the end all and be all. This does not solve what we are looking at; it is part of the puzzle to solve the equation.
Education and other factors need to be looked at. We have to ensure that our kids are kept safe. Not only that, we have to ensure that our kids understand the consequences of their actions when they send text messages or images. They need to understand there are consequences, and that they could be hurting someone when they make that anonymous note in an email, text or tweet. Their actions will have consequences and will impact someone's life. Just because we are not looking at them, we should not think it is not happening.
It is very important that this be a part of many things to tackle cyberbullying.
View Mylène Freeman Profile
View Mylène Freeman Profile
2014-04-28 12:33 [p.4576]
Mr. Speaker, for me this issue is very important. As a young woman, I have grown up with a lot of technology around and have learned to be wary over the years. Certainly young people need to know how to protect themselves, et cetera.
My colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord raised the importance of preventive measures. He presented a motion on a national strategy to prevent and end bullying. Unfortunately, the Conservatives voted against that. I would like to know why my colleague voted against that and believed it was not a good way forward to prevent bullying.
View Randall Garrison Profile
View Randall Garrison Profile
2014-04-28 12:38 [p.4577]
Mr. Speaker, I must start by thanking my NDP colleagues for allowing me to speak on Bill C-13 today, because as a result of the application of time allocation for what I think was the 58th time, many of my colleagues will not have an opportunity to speak on this bill. Despite all of my colleagues obviously being New Democrats, we are a very diverse caucus with different experiences, and we represent different kinds of ridings here in the House of Commons.
I have risen to speak in favour of Bill C-13, but I do so with some reservations.
Unfortunately, the bill is, in effect, yet another omnibus bill that mixes together many other issues with the one that should have been central—that is, bullying and cyberbullying. Instead we have a rather mixed bag of provisions instead of a focused response to the urgent challenges of bullying and cyberbullying.
Rather than trying to address all the issues in the bill, I want to focus my remarks today on two aspects: first, the need for effective action to combat bullying; second, the proposed amendment to the hate crime section of the Criminal Code which, surprisingly, also appears in the bill in clause 12.
Since 2011, we in this House have had several opportunities to act on the issues of bullying and cyberbullying, but unfortunately we have made little progress. Nearly 18 months ago my colleague, the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, put forward a motion, Motion No. 385, which called upon the federal government to develop a national strategy with concrete steps to combat bullying. Unfortunately, the Conservatives voted down the motion, dismissing it as a call for further study, when in fact it was a call for leadership from the federal government in the fight against bullying and cyberbullying.
Last summer, on June 17, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-540, which would amend the Criminal Code in order to make the non-consensual making or distribution of intimate images a criminal offence. At that time, we asked the government to expedite passage of the bill in order to try to prevent further tragedies like the suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons, which took place as a result of cyberbullying. Unfortunately, the government preferred to wait for its own bill, which has delayed action on this critical issue for nearly a year.
What we have before us now in Bill C-13 is much narrower than a strategy to combat cyberbullying, though it does have some provisions similar to those the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour proposed many months ago.
We are, of course, supporting the bill going to committee, precisely because some legislative action against cyberbullying is necessary, but again I want to emphasize that focusing on bullying after the fact can only be part of the solution.
Today I want to reiterate two points I made when speaking 18 months ago in support of our motion for a national anti-bullying strategy. They relate to the pervasiveness of bullying in our society and to its amplification by the existence of new technologies.
The prevalence and pervasiveness of bullying in Canada is truly shocking. In fact, bullying is happening around us all the time. In one analysis of Toronto-area schools, it was found that a student is bullied every seven seconds.
Egale Canada conducted a survey of homophobia and transphobia in schools across Canada. It found that 74% of transidentified students, 55% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, and 26% of non-LGBTQ students reported being verbally harassed. More than half of those reported that this bullying occurred on a daily or weekly basis.
One UBC study of students in grades 8 to 10 found that 64% of students reported they had been bullied. Even more saddening for me is their acceptance of that inevitability, because 64% of these same students said they found bullying to be a normal part of school life.
People are bullied for an almost infinite number of reasons, but almost all of those reasons are connected to hostility toward deviation from the perceived norm: for being too short, too tall, too fat, too thin; for where they were born, the colour of their skin, the language they speak at home; for having an accent, for the clothes they wear, for sexual orientation, for their gender, for their gender presentation, for what they are able to afford. The list goes on and on, but the result is always the same: creating a sense of exclusion for the victims of bullying.
As technology has advanced, so has the means of bullying, with social networking, smart phones, and the Internet becoming second nature to people in Canada, especially young people. So has utilizing these resources for bullying. As a result, bullying has become intensified and its impacts more widely distributed.
Bullying is no longer a problem that only happens at school, on the school bus, or on the playground. It is no longer just a workplace problem. It can now follow victims home and invade their lives 24 hours a day each and every day of the year.
The consequences of bullying and the effects of bullying need to be taken seriously. We all know that the impacts of bullying on youth can be drastic and long-lasting. Young people who are bullied are more likely to face depression. It is estimated that male victims of bullying are five times more likely, and females victims three times more likely, to be depressed than their non-bullied classmates.
People who are victims of bullying are more susceptible to low self-esteem and are more likely to suffer from anxiety and illnesses. Young people who are bullied are more likely to engage in substance abuse and self-harm, and in recent years we have seen the tragic rise in the trend toward youth bullycide. The list of those young people who have taken their own lives as a result of bullying is already too long, and unfortunately continues to grow.
The costs of bullying are found not just on its impact on individuals. Bullying has wider social costs. One study has found that of elementary school bullies, one in four will have a criminal record by the time they are 30 years old.
We can and must move beyond our platitudes and expressions of concern about bullying and not limit our responses only to actions taken after the damage has already been done.
We all know that these bullying behaviours are learned. People are not born with hearts full of hate. At the root of our response to bullying must be efforts to build a more open and accepting society. If there was a real intolerance for discrimination and hate, then bullying clearly would not be so pervasive.
We could make a good start by calling bullying what it really is. We need to recognize that most bullying is rooted in sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and classism. These are serious prejudices that most Canadians find unacceptable in theory, but for some reason they are deemed acceptable when they are expressed in the form of bullying.
The need for a broad strategy as well as for anti-bullying legislation is so obvious. Unfortunately, what we find in the rest of the bill is a mixed bag of only tangentially related provisions, some with no clear connection to the problem at all.
Some things in the bill have been brought forward from the previously failed Bill C-30, but fortunately in this version it looks as if the important principle of judicial oversight of police access to Internet communications may be preserved. I look forward to hearing from Canadians about this aspect again when the bill reaches committee.
One surprise in Bill C-13 was the inclusion of clause 12. This section proposes the addition of some important provisions to the hate crime section of the Criminal Code. I am at a loss to explain why this proposal has suddenly appeared in the bill, but I think it is a positive thing.
Bill C-13 suggests adding national origins, age, sex, and mental or physical disability to the existing provisions of the hate crime section of the Criminal Code. While the connection to the other aspect of the bill is not immediately obvious, as I said, I do believe this is a good thing, but what is missing from this section is gender identity. This House has twice voted in favour of adding gender identity to the hate crime section of the Criminal Code, yet it is not included in clause 12 of the bill.
My own private member's bill, Bill C-279, is still stuck in the Senate more than a year after being passed in this House, and while I remain hopeful it will be adopted soon, there is an obvious potential problem in the conflict between Bill C-13 and my own private member's bill. Unfortunately, if the Senate does pass Bill C-279, clause 12 of Bill C-13 would inadvertently undo half that progress. Bill C-13 in its present form would actually remove gender identity from the hate crime section of the Criminal Code if my private member's bill has already passed, so when we get to committee, we will be having a serious discussion about an amendment to add gender identity to fix this omission.
It was more than three years ago that this House, in a minority Parliament, voted to add gender identity to the hate crime section of the Criminal Code, and, as I said, more than a year ago we voted to do that in my own private member's bill, so I am hoping that this proposed amendment to the hate crime section was inadvertent in its omission of gender identity and that this omission can be fixed in committee.
Let me return to what I believe is the important question that should be at the centre of Bill C-13, which is that there is an urgent need for Parliament to provide national leadership in the fight against bullying.
Despite our concerns about the bill being an omnibus bill and despite many of the other things stuffed into Bill C-13, we are supporting sending the bill to committee so that we can continue the dialogue on the important issue of bullying and cyberbullying.
What is of concern to me, as I mentioned at the outset, is the attitude that has become prevalent on the other side of the House that when three or four members have spoken, it is time to end debate. The very root of the word “Parliament” means a place where we can talk about the important national issues.
I feel it is a great privilege to stand here and speak to Bill C-13 as a man who comes from the LGBTQ community, which suffers inordinately from bullying. I think I bring a perspective somewhat different from that of some other members of the House. As someone from Vancouver Island, where we have a lot of early adapters of new technology, I know we see huge problems of bullying and cyberbullying in local schools. Frankly, teachers are at their wits' end in trying to find ways to deal effectively with it.
One thing that has been common in the responses I have received is a warning that we not look simply to criminal sanctions for youth to combat cyberbullying and that criminalizing bullying for young people could in fact be a serious problem.
I come back to the idea that we cannot just focus on what happens after the bullying. We have to provide national leadership in coming up with ways to attack this problem before the damage actually takes place. Some may say that is not a federal responsibility, but it is in the sense that when bullying and cyberbullying reach their most vicious levels, they often result in criminal acts. Since the Criminal Code is the responsibility of this federal Parliament, then we do have a responsibility for crime prevention. I would argue very strongly that a national strategy to prevent bullying and cyberbullying is a matter of crime prevention.
On the other side of the House we hear a lot of discussion about victims. We share the concern for victims in Canadian society, but how can we do our best job in addressing the needs of victims? We can do that by preventing victimization. Once again, there is a responsibility for the House to look at what we can do to make sure that victims are not created through bullying and cyberbullying.
When we get to committee, I would ask members on the other side to keep an open mind about those other things that we can do. We do not need just to find criminal sanctions, although there are some things here that I agree are necessary and that will be useful in the most extreme cases, but there are many more things we can do to make this the Canada that we all love and believe is a great place that includes a space for all Canadians.
Unfortunately, the evidence of bullying and cyberbullying shows that is not always the case. Whether we are talking about immigrant communities and their desire to contribute to Canada fully or whether we are talking about the LGBTQ community and our desire to be accepted in Canadian society and play our role very fully or whether we are talking about those with disabilities who are often sidelined in our society, we have to take all the measures that we can to make our country more inclusive and make it one we can all be even prouder of than we are now.
How do we do that? I come back to this argument again and again. We put forward a motion calling for a national strategy to combat bullying and cyberbullying, and this is where Bill C-13 falls short. It has measures looking at what we can do after the fact to investigate criminal cases of bullying. It has measures to help apprehend those people who ultimately have performed criminal acts when it comes to bullying, but it does not have measures that would help reduce this problem in our society.
I will return to my concern over Bill C-279.
It is a difficult situation for some people to understand. My bill should have already passed through the Senate and should already be law. We now have a situation in which transgendered Canadians are subject to hate crimes and bullying and are the group most subject to violence of all groups in our society. If that private member's bill—which passed the House a year ago, as I said several times today—had already been passed, we would have some of the tools we need to combat the epidemic of violence against transgendered people in Canada.
Canada is not alone. Transgendered people are the most subject to violence everywhere around the world. I remain very sad that the Senate has taken so long to get down to business on passing Bill C-279. It held hearings and heard witnesses a year ago in June at the human rights committee. It essentially finished the process of examining the bill and found it acceptable; then, because of prorogation, the process had to start over.
I am at a loss to see why the bill has to go back to another committee, this time to a legislative and constitutional affairs committee. We have had the promise from the senators that they will take up the bill in committee soon; however, that promise was made in February and we are now in April.
I am emphasizing this in Bill C-13 because this is where the two bills come together: in clause 12 and those amendments to the hate crimes section of the Criminal Code that are in this bill but fail to include gender identity. We have this unfortunate grinding of gears between the two Houses here. If in committee we are able to add gender identity to Bill C-13, that would be a good thing, because as a government bill it would make its way through the Senate expeditiously. I have now begun to fear that Bill C-279 will face the same fate as the previous bill on transgender rights and that it will die in the Senate without action before the next election. If we can get half a loaf here in Bill C-13, I am prepared to work for that. I look for support from the other side in correcting what I hope was an inadvertent omission of gender identity from those amendments that are in clause 12.
When we go back to our ridings when Bill C-13 is in committee, I know that all of us will hear from members of our communities about the urgency of what we are doing, and I know we will hear again from the Conservatives about the urgency. However, I have to emphasize that we have had many opportunities since 2011 to actually take action on what I call “remedial actions”, those things that take place after the fact. Again, I remain disappointed that the Conservatives would not expedite the private member's bill from the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, and we could have already had the non-consensual distribution of sexual images in the Criminal Code by this time. We would not still be waiting for that to happen. Of course, we could have already had a committee that had prepared a national strategy with concrete actions to combat bullying and cyberbullying.
As we near the summer recess, I am hoping Bill C-13 will actually get through, but then it also would face the hurdle of the Senate. Would the Senate deal expeditiously with this bill? Would it actually get these provisions passed in a timely manner? I can only hope that it would, but the irony is that Bill C-13 would go to the Constitution and legal affairs committee of the Senate where my private member's bill is also supposed to be going. The chances of both getting through before we get to summer seems kind of small. We have both the broader group of all those who face bullying and the narrower group of those trans Canadians who are depending on the Senate to take effective action soon. However, that just does not seem to be the way the Senate proceeds.
An hon. member: It is a mystery.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
View Cathy McLeod Profile
2014-04-28 13:18 [p.4583]
Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, a crime is a crime, regardless of whether or not it is on the Internet.
More importantly, we have talked about the distribution of non-consensual intimate images and the ability to remove them. He should talk about the issues we looked at in terms of some of the people. For a good majority of them, the issues are around the distribution of intimate images. We are taking an approach that is going to give police the investigative and legislative tools to truly tackle this issue.
Of course, we need to continue to do the very important work, outside of a legislative process, that is focused on education and making sure that Canadians are aware of this issue. Anything this big requires a multi-pronged approach.
View Dany Morin Profile
View Dany Morin Profile
2014-04-28 13:32 [p.4585]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Sherbrooke for the question.
The government needs to listen to the opposition members, even if it does not agree with them, and it needs to listen to the Senate. I feel this is an odd thing for me to say. However, about two years ago, the Senate published a report on cyberbullying. As we know, the Senate has a Conservative majority. The report's first recommendation was to create a national bullying prevention strategy.
The report was published shortly after the government rejected my motion. When I read that report, I realized that even the Conservative senators wanted a national bullying prevention strategy, just as I had proposed to the Conservative members in the House. It really saddens me that the government voted against it for partisan reasons. Perhaps it needs to reread the Senate's report. It is a good report.
View François Choquette Profile
View François Choquette Profile
2014-04-28 13:33 [p.4585]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on his speech. He spoke with great emotion. His speech was very interesting and quite relevant to the current debate.
When we talk about Canada, we need to talk about the youth who are Canada's future. We need to look after them. This bill is clearly a first step. I also think it is important to support the communities that are doing the everyday work on the ground.
In Drummondville, there are a number of local organizations and committees that are looking at the issue. We have a committee on violence and a subcommittee that works on bullying prevention. They bring together all of Drummond's social organizations.
I believe that my colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord proposed a national cyberbullying prevention strategy. It was a great way to tackle the issue because it is not enough to address instances of cyberbullying; we have to work to prevent it, too.
I would like the hon. member to talk about the important role that the federal government could play in preventing bullying through a national bullying prevention strategy.
View Bev Shipley Profile
View Bev Shipley Profile
2014-04-28 13:35 [p.4585]
Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to speak in the House as a representative of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, particularly today as we speak in support of Bill C-13, the protecting Canadians from online crime act. As we have heard today from all speakers, it addresses the serious criminal behaviour associated with cyberbullying.
This is an issue that affects Canadians across the country, whether in small communities, like mine, or in large cities, in remote areas, or in urban areas. It is an issue of grave concern to all of us. For Barb and me, who are parents and grandparents, as aunts and uncles, as parliamentarians and as Canadians, we take this for what the act talks about.
We have all heard of the tragic results of cyberbullying. My colleagues who spoke mentioned a number of individuals who have been captured and caught in the effects of cyberbullying. There are stories of children so distraught that they take their own lives because they can no longer handle the barrage of taunts, threats, and humiliation that is absolutely heartbreaking to them and everyone around them.
We have the opportunity to take decisive action now and try to prevent, as much as we can, future tragedies. The legislation before us is one that would move us ahead with reforms to our laws to deter the effects and types of destructive behaviour. Certainly, having stronger penalties in place would act as a strong deterrent to those who would post intimate pictures of someone online without their consent. It is also critical, and we have heard a lot about that today, that every possible step be taken to prevent bullying in all its forms.
In my time today, I want to talk about our government, and specifically Public Safety Canada, which is prepared to establish a number of prevention, education, and awareness activities. As the lead federal department on the issue of cyberbullying, Public Safety Canada is tackling this form of intimidation. This includes supporting programs that work to change behaviours among young people to prevent bullying of all types, whether online or in person.
For example, our government is currently supporting the development of a number of school-based projects to prevent bullying as part of the $10 million that was committed in 2012 toward new crime prevention projects to address this and other priority issues such as preventing violence among at-risk youth and offending among urban aboriginal youth. Education and awareness are also critical to addressing this harmful and extreme behaviour. We are working on a number of initiatives to encourage youth. We need youth themselves to speak up and to let adults know what is happening.
Our government supports the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, which operates Cybertip.ca, an initiative that started in 2002, and NeedHelpNow.ca. These are websites that Canadians can use to report online sexual exploitation of children and to seek help for exploitation resulting from the sharing of sexual images.
In addition, the RCMP Centre for Youth Crime Prevention offers resources such as fact sheets, lesson plans, and interactive learning tools to youth, parents, police officers, and educators on issues such as bullying and cyberbullying. We also talk about cyberbullying during Cyber Security Awareness Month, which takes place each October.
The focus of Public Safety Canada’s Get Cyber Safe campaign is to educate Canadians of all ages on the simple steps they can take to protect themselves from people who want to do harm to them online, or for things like identity theft, fraud, and computer viruses.
Part of helping our people stay safe online includes making them aware of the dangers of cyberbullying and what they can do to stop it. As part of our efforts in this regard, Public Safety Canada launched a national public awareness safety campaign called “Stop Hating Online”, in January 2014. It does a number of things. It provides information to youth and their parents about the potential serious legal consequences around cyberbullying and the distribution of intimate images without consent.
It also informs Canadian adults that they have a role to play in the prevention and reporting of cyberbullying and raises awareness among young Canadians regarding the types of behaviours that constitute cyberbullying and the impacts of that on people. We want to help them understand that they can be more than a bystander, and give them information on how and when they can stand up to cyberbullying.
We want to make sure that we go beyond that. In order to reach as many people as possible, we want to make sure that we cover both adults and youth. Our government wants to work closely with the private sector and other government partners to deliver the campaign using a wide variety of media, awareness activities, but with a particular focus on using social media to spread the word and encourage Canadians.
I hope that members of the House were able to see some of the ads played on national TV networks between January and March. The idea was aimed at parents and youth, the latter being a little more edgy and dynamic to capture the attention of our tech-savvy youth. Both ads illustrated how easy it is for kids to share intimate images of each other through mobile phones and social media, often without much thought. Both ads end with a clear and serious message: that sharing intimate messages and images without consent is not only wrong, it is also illegal—something we are working toward with the legislation before us.
Because the younger generation is not necessarily watching the evening news, the same ads were played online and at movie theatres. The ads drove people to a comprehensive website called “Stop Hating Online”, which provides concrete tools and tips for youth, parents, educators, and all those concerned about cyberbullying. The campaign uses social media like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to reach out to youth.
This is where we are seeing a significant engagement and positive feedback from youth and parents who are embracing this campaign and telling us clearly that they are not going to accept this destructive behaviour for themselves, their families, or their friends.
In fact, Facebook Canada reported that interest and engagement is much higher than average for the Stop Hating Online initiative. It has also had over one million views of the youth-oriented ad on YouTube since its launch. Facebook accounts for more than 60,000 times its usual hits. We are saying that when we reach out across all media and all types of contacts, it is starting to hit home. As we watch television news and listen to reports of those who have been caught in this, they need to understand the severity of it.
For obvious reasons, as a proud parent and grandparent, I would ask members of the House to support Bill C-13.
View Bev Shipley Profile
View Bev Shipley Profile
2014-04-28 13:47 [p.4587]
Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, in our justice bills, and again in this one here, there has to be a significant deterrent for those people who commit cyberbullying, or bullying of any kind, quite honestly. We tend to think of cyberbullying, but it is also the person-on-person bullying, and we have heard examples of that in here not only today but from time to time. We believe on this side that there also have to be significant consequences for those who commit those acts as they have serious consequences for those who are being bullied.
Also, as part of that, I likely have spent more time talking about prevention and assistance in terms of education as I did about some of the penalties, but it has to work hand in hand. We need to have consequences and penalties, and we also need to make sure that we spend our time and resources in making prevention as big an issue as we can.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2014-04-28 13:50 [p.4587]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise today and talk to what I believe is a very important issue. The issue of cyberbullying is very real, it is tangible, and it happens every day. It affects the lives of thousands of Canadians throughout our great land. There is a responsibility for government to do its best to ensure that we have the tools that are necessary to make a difference. That is really what we in the Liberal Party want. We would like to see a comprehensive approach to dealing with the issue of cyberbullying. That is what is really important here.
The legislation is one part of it. The additional resources, ideas, budgets, and throne speeches are another part of it, where we see a government that wants to focus its attention on dealing with an issue that many Canadians are quite concerned about. They want the government to demonstrate leadership on such an important issue.
I listened to the member, and I posed a question specifically; I appreciated the frankness in the answer that he provided. However, the point is that we have before us a piece of legislation that deals with a number of changes. Some of those changes I do not think would do any service by being incorporated into the important issue of cyberbullying. We remember the old Bill C-30, which had some fairly significant implications regarding lawful access. The government gave assurances on that bill and it died on the order paper.
Why incorporate some of the things they have into this very important issue? It made reference to the cable industry and cable theft. I suspect that if we canvass the House we would find that there is a great deal of interest in the issue of cyberbullying today. It is nothing new. It has been there for many years. We can talk about the cyber.ca website, and I would recommend that people check it. People can draw fantastic information from it. We need to get more people educated about the process of bullying that takes place.
In 2005, legislation under former Prime Minister Paul Martin was proposed. We have had other members bring it forward. In particular I look to my colleague from Vancouver, the wonderful Liberal Party health critic, who has brought forward the issue of cyberbullying. This issue has been before us for a number of years, and it keeps growing in its seriousness and the importance for the House to take more action in dealing with it.
Today, we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and a litany of other programs and applications through the Internet that are used as mechanisms to inflict hurt upon someone else. One cannot underestimate the tragedies that have been caused by the type of cyberbullying or harassment that is taking place every day.
When we look at this legislation in principle, I believe all members, but assuredly members of the Liberal caucus, are quite supportive of taking action that would assist us in dealing with that very important issue of cyberbullying.
However, Liberals want to go further than that. We want to challenge the government to look at refocusing some of its priorities. The member made reference to advertising commercials. There is a great deal of benefit in using advertising as a wonderful tool to educate our population, because not everyone listens to the 6 o'clock or 10 o'clock news. The member is right that purchasing advertising spots in sports and children's programming would be of great value.
Think of the hundreds of millions of dollars the government spends on advertising its budget, its economic program, or whatever we want to call it. It spends hundreds of millions of dollars on something of no real great value. It is a bunch of spin coming from the government on what it is doing. Why not use some of the hundreds of millions of dollars on good, solid programs that are going to make a difference, such as developing and paying for advertising in our multimedia world today to educate individuals about cyberspace? That is what we should be doing. We challenge the government of the day to be a bit more creative on that front.
We need to work with stakeholders. How can we develop a strategy to educate and encourage people to get a better understanding of such an important issue if we are not prepared to work with the different stakeholders in society? One example would be schools. In Manitoba, there is in excess of 200,000 students attending public school. What is being done to encourage some sort of programming that educates our young people? I do not want to have to rely on Facebook and independent thinking that takes place in a locked room where all sorts of mischievous behaviour could be occurring in terms of educating our young people. It has to be far broader than that. Schools, school divisions, and departments of education all need to play a role.
What about the private sector? We talk about harassment that takes place in the cyberworld. Vindictive attitudes and how quickly individuals attack potential victims by posting pictures or images or making statements on the Internet that have strong, profound negative impacts on people's lives are incredible. Only one level of government, the national government and the Prime Minister, has to realize just how important it is that it is set as a priority issue. Every day that goes by that the Conservative government chooses not to be more aggressively proactive on this issue, we are destroying lives because we allow it to continue to the degree at which it is moving forward today, at a very rapid pace.
Liberals welcome the idea of action, support action to deal with anti-bullying, and want more of a comprehensive, all-inclusive strategy that is going to change more than the criminal law. It is time that the Government of Canada starts working with stakeholders. We could make a much larger difference if the government became interested in doing that.
View Glenn Thibeault Profile
Ind. (ON)
View Glenn Thibeault Profile
2014-04-28 16:23 [p.4614]
Mr. Speaker, if we look across the aisle during this debate, we are all feeling the importance of making sure that we address this issue.
As a father, it is important that when my kids come home from school we make sure we watch to see what they are doing on the Internet. There is some concern there, and all parents need to be concerned.
I also know that in my great riding of Sudbury, the police, through Sergeant Tim Burtt and the cyber unit, have been going to schools talking about the importance and impact of cyberbullying. It is important for us to recognize the importance of this and to get on this.
It is concerning, when we see other things have been added to this. It is something that we could have done very quickly. I would like to hear my hon. colleague's comments on that.
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2014-04-28 16:43 [p.4617]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for their welcome this evening. I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-13. This bill is close to my heart, and it deals with a sensitive issue that can also be emotional for some of my colleagues.
I commend the government for introducing this bill to create a national strategy on cyberbullying and cybercrime, which could also be included. The NDP will support any measures that combat cyberbullying, as such measures are in line with our principles on the right to privacy.
Such measures are almost exactly what we need, in response to rapidly developing technologies that are changing the way young people interact with each other every day. I said that the measures were almost perfect because this bill contains one measure that is in line with a measure that we presented in the House. The rest of the bill still has several flaws, which I will talk about in my speech today.
We also regret the fact that it took a number of high-profile cases, such as the ones in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, before our government finally decided to take action to combat cyberbullying and bullying in general. Bullying is not restricted to the Internet. It can happen in person every day, especially at school.
We also regret that the Conservatives refused to support the sensible, direct and simple Bill C-540, introduced by my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. It is odd that the content of the government's Bill C-13 is nearly identical to the bill we introduced that was not supported by the Conservatives. One has to wonder whether the Conservatives were playing politics. I will give them the benefit of the doubt. It is up to them to answer that question.
Two years ago, in the 41st Parliament, my colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord moved Motion No. 385, which suggested that the government create a national bullying prevention strategy to address the issue of bullying in general—not just cyberbullying—but the motion was not supported by the Conservatives.
The Conservatives, who today are saying that they are the great protectors of our youth and that they want to fix the situation, actually had the opportunity to help us do that in the past. Unfortunately, they did not support us.
It is sad that the government sometimes seems to wait for tragic events to happen before taking action. We have also seen that with other files. We could prevent rather than react to these very tragic situations that often result in loss of life.
Therefore, we need legislation to prohibit the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. We support this part of the bill that will prohibit the non-consensual distribution of intimate images because we had proposed this same measure in 2013, about 10 months ago. The Conservatives did not support this measure then, but it is being reintroduced and we will support it. Had this been the only focus of the bill, we could have supported it right away. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
A number of things have also been included in Bill C-13, such as parts of Bill C-30. Members will recall that, in the first session of the 41st Parliament, if my memory serves me well, the minister of public safety—who is no longer an MP—introduced the now-defunct Bill C-30. This bill raised the ire of Canadians across the country. The minister was eventually forced to back down and withdraw the bill, dubbed the electronic surveillance bill. It was not well received by the public. As I was saying, the Conservatives eventually withdrew the bill.
Unfortunately, a number of the measures in Bill C-30, for which there was no consensus, are found today in Bill C-13. That is one of the reasons why we cannot support this bill in its current form. We will support the bill at second reading in order to try to fix the bill in committee. However, as we told the government, we would have been open to splitting the bill in order to study only the part that members seem to agree on and to pass it quickly. We could then have focused on the somewhat more contentious parts.
Bullying is a very important issue that particularly affects youth aged 12 to 14. According to research, they are the most likely age group to be victims of cyberbullying. This scourge has a serious impact on the mental health and well-being of young victims. Studies are painting a negative and troubling portrait of the impact that cyberbullying is having on our youth. It results in anxiety, poor school performance, hopelessness and helplessness. It can also lead to very tragic situations, such as those we have recently witnessed.
According to the 2012 impact report by Kids Help Phone, cyberbullying victims and offenders are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide, unfortunately. That is a very worrisome finding.
When talking about bullying, we do not always mention the negative impact it can have on the victims who often find themselves in a very difficult situation. They clearly need help right now. That is why we support the first part of the bill, which would give those responsible for enforcing the law another tool to crack down on this scourge. We could bring those who hurt others to justice.
In addition, we realize that this issue affects far too many children in Canada. We also need to work on prevention. Punishing those at fault is not the only answer. We need to be proactive about preventing bullying before it happens. That is a foreign concept for the Conservatives. Often, they present measures that punish those in the wrong. That is fine, but we also need to put plenty of effort into preventing cyberbullying to simply avoid having victims. If we successfully prevent it, we can reduce the number of victims because some crimes will not happen in the first place. It is more important to prevent it before it happens, especially given the negative impact it can have on the victims. That is all the more true today, in 2014. Young people are increasingly exposed to new technology through the Internet. This means that, in some cases, they are now being bullied not just when they are in the schoolyard but also 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I am ready to answer questions.
View Bob Dechert Profile
View Bob Dechert Profile
2013-11-27 16:53 [p.1448]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate today in the second reading debate on the protecting Canadians from online crime bill.
The government committed to bringing this legislation forward in the recent Speech from the Throne and has quickly delivered on this promise. This bill is a central part of the government's contribution to addressing the issue of cyberbullying and is a key element of the government's agenda to support victims and punish criminals.
It will not come as a surprise to most people to learn that Canadians have fully embraced the Internet and other mobile communication technologies, such as smart phones and social media, for communicating with friends and family, making new social connections, seeking information and creating websites and blogs.
While most people use the Internet in a constructive manner, there have been an increasing number of heartbreaking stories where young people, in particular, are using the Internet or other electronic media to engage in malicious conduct that leads to serious repercussions for the victim.
Although the issue of bullying itself is an age-old problem, technology has irrevocably changed the nature and scope of bullying. For example, bullying conducted by electronic means is easier, faster and more malicious than ever before. It also has the potential to remain in cyberspace permanently and can be done anonymously.
Over the past few years, cyberbullying is alleged to have played a part in the decision of some young people to take their own lives. These stories are heartbreaking, and I am sure I speak for all Canadians when I express our collective sorrow for these tragic events.
However, these incidents also prompt us as lawmakers to ask what we can do. What can the federal government do to prevent similar tragedies or at least ensure that we can effectively respond to these events if they occur again?
This was the exact question considered this past spring by a federal, provincial and territorial working group on cybercrime. The working group studied and considered whether or not cyberbullying was adequately addressed by the Criminal Code and whether or not there are any gaps that need to be filled.
In July, the Department of Justice, on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial partners, publicly released the report on cyberbullying and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
This working group made nine unanimous recommendations with respect to the criminal law response to cyberbullying. I think it is significant to note that the very first recommendation in the report calls for a multi-pronged and multi-sectoral approach to the issue of cyberbullying and calls for all levels of government to continue to build on their initiatives to address cyberbullying in a comprehensive manner.
I wholeheartedly support this recommendation as it recognizes that cyberbullying cannot be adequately addressed by one initiative, by one level of government. In fact, most experts agree that bullying and cyberbullying are most effectively addressed through education, awareness and prevention activities. Criminal law reform represents a small but key part in this multi-sectoral approach.
Returning to the bill that is currently before us today, I am pleased to note that all of the proposals contained in the bill were recommended by the federal, provincial and territorial working group and are supported by provincial and territorial attorneys general.
The bill has two main goals: to create the new Criminal Code offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images, and to modernize the investigative powers in the Criminal Code to enable the police to effectively and efficiently investigate cyberbullying and other crimes committed via the Internet or that involve electronic evidence.
I ask all the members who have intervened so far and those who will speak following me to consider actually how the police would be able to investigate some of these cyberbullying offences, including the situation that happened in the Amanda Todd case, if we did not have these investigative powers, if the police were not able to preserve the evidence, if the police were not able to track the location of the individual who sent the bullying messages. We all know that Amanda Todd's tormentor is still at large. Would it not be nice if we could locate that person and bring him or her to justice?
I would like to focus the remainder of my remarks on the proposed new offence. The proposed offence would fill a gap related to a form of serious cyberbullying behaviour with respect to the sharing or distribution of nude or sexual images that are later used without the consent of the person depicted.
I think it is important to emphasize that the goal of this offence is not to criminalize the making of these images or even the consensual sharing of these images, such as between intimate partners or friends. Rather, this offence would focus on the behaviour that is more often becoming associated with these images, the distribution of them without the consent of the person depicted.
Quite often, the perpetrator of this behaviour is the ex-partner or ex-spouse of the person depicted in the images who is seeking revenge or looking to humiliate or harass him or her. Specifically, this new offence would prohibit all forms of distribution of these types of images without the consent of the person depicted. To secure a conviction for this offence, a prosecutor would be required to prove that the accused knowingly distributed the images and that the accused distributed the images either knowing the person depicted did not consent to this distribution or being reckless as to whether the person consented.
A key element of the proposed offence is the nature of the image itself. The bill proposes a three part definition of “intimate image” to guide the court in determining whether a particular image is one that could be a subject of the proposed offence. An intimate image is one in which the person depicted was nude or exposing his or her sexual organs or anal region or engaged in explicit sexual activity. The Criminal Code uses similar definitions in the voyeurism section, which is section 162, and the child pornography section, which is section 163.
However, the content of the image on its own would not be enough to qualify the image as an intimate image. The court would also need to be satisfied that the image was one that was taken in circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy and that the person depicted in that image still retained a reasonable expectation of privacy in the image.
These two elements are key to ensuring that the proposed offence is not cast too broadly and does not capture images in which there could be no reasonable privacy interest. For example, if a person took sexual images of him or herself in the privacy of his or her own home for the individual's own personal use, the image would likely be found to be an intimate image. However, if that same person then posted those images on a public website, it is less likely that the court would find that the individual would retain a reasonable expectation of privacy, despite the fact that the initial recording of the image was privately done.
The proposed offence would be supported by several complementary amendments in the Criminal Code to provide protection to victims of this particularly contemptible form of cyberbullying. These complementary amendments would permit the court to order the removal of intimate images from the Internet and other digital networks, as well as make an order for restitution to cover some of the expenses incurred in having those images removed.
Further, the court would be empowered to order the forfeiture of tools or property used in the commission of the offence, such as a Smartphone or computer, as well as a prohibition order to restrict the use of a computer or the Internet by a convicted offender. This prohibition order would be essentially useful in cases of repeat offenders.
The legislation also proposes to permit the court to issue a peace bond against a person who has intimate images in his or her possession where there are reasonable grounds to fear that the new offence would be committed by that person. The proposed new offence and complementary amendments fill an existing gap in the criminal law and aim to provide broad protection to victims of this behaviour.
The point I just mentioned about getting a prohibition order against the use of these images when we know the person already has the images is very important. Now we will be able to intervene in a situation where we know these images exist and we suspect that a person might be about to use them for a bullying purpose and therefore we will be able to get them before they go out on the Internet, and that is very important.
I would like to refer to a couple of comments that Canadians have made about this bill since its introduction a couple of weeks ago. On November 20, Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, said:
It's a step in the right direction. The only thing that was going through my mind was that if this was in place three years ago when I first started reporting the things that were happening to Amanda…I think my daughter would be here.
Lianna McDonald of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection said that Bill C-13 “will assist in stopping the misuse of technology and help numerous young people impacted and devastated by this type of victimization”.
David Butt, counsel to the Kids' Internet Safety Alliance, said in The Globe and Mail on November 21, “the new bill is a great improvement over trying to fit the round peg of this particular problem into the square hole of our existing child pornography laws”.
On November 21 on CTV News, Allan Hubley, Ottawa city councillor and father of an unfortunate bullied teen who took his own life, said:
When we were younger, you always knew who your bully was, you could do something about it. Now, up until the time this legislation gets enacted, they can hide behind that.
I want to point out he was talking about the timing of the passing of this legislation. He further said, “Not only does it start to take the mask off of them, through this legislation there is serious consequences for their actions”.
In addition, on November 21 in The Huffington Post, Mr. Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, said:
I am very grateful to hear that [Minister of Justice] and Public Safety Minister...have announced new legislation that will address this disgusting crime that devastated our daughter Rehtaeh.
In addition, the editorial in The Province newspaper on November 22 read as follows:
Changes in the law proposed in the bill will allow the police to drag the predators behind these awful crimes out from the shadows and into the blazing light of justice in courtrooms. Many will go to jail, which is right.
Finally, I would like to note that Mr. Gil Zvulony, a well-known Toronto Internet lawyer, said, “there is a logical theme to all of this, in the sense that it’s trying to modernize [the code] for the digital age”.
While this legislation is not a complete answer to the broad social phenomenon that is cyberbullying, it is a key piece of the broader response to address this complex issue. I strongly urge all members of the House to support it.
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