Protecting children from sexual predators

This week our government introduced legislation to help protect children from Internet sexual predators. The new law will assist in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children by requiring suppliers of Internet services to report Internet child pornography.

This week our government introduced legislation to help protect children from Internet sexual predators. The new law will assist in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children by requiring suppliers of Internet services to report Internet child pornography. We will have the capability to shut down websites in Canada with child pornography on them.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said, “The creation and distribution of child pornography are appalling crimes in which children are brutally victimized over and over again. A mandatory reporting regime across Canada will strengthen our ability to protect our children from sexual predators and help police rescue these young victims, and prosecute the criminals responsible.”

As the Member of Parliament for Crowfoot, over the years I have many times presented the justice minister with “white ribbons” against pornography. These ribbons are always signed by constituents in our riding. Just last week, I presented the Hon. Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety with 284 signatures from the Crowfoot riding on a White Ribbon Against Pornography. This year, the White Ribbon campaign focused on child pornography.

This new Bill, C-58 has the support of the provincial and territorial ministers responsible for justice who have already agreed that Canada’s response to child pornography would be enhanced by federal law. They recognize that Internet providers whose services could be used to facilitate the commission of Internet child pornography offences should have a mechanism to report suspected material.

The proposed Act would apply to suppliers of Internet services to the public, e.g. Internet access, electronic mail, content hosting and social networking sites. It would require them to report to a designated agency, tips they receive regarding Web sites where child pornography may be available to the public; and notify police and safeguard evidence if they believe that a child pornography offence has been committed using an Internet service that they provide.

Failure to comply with the duties under this new law would constitute an offence punishable by graduated fines: up to $1,000 for a first offence; $5,000 for a second offence; and for subsequent offences the possibility of a fine up to $10,000 or six months imprisonment; or both for sole proprietorships. If a corporation fails to comply with its duties under this Act, the graduated fine scheme would be up to $10,000, $50,000 and $100,000.

Our government remains committed to protecting Canadians – particularly our children. We have already passed numerous justice bills, including the Tackling Violent Crime Act, and now we are proceeding to get tough on crime committed in today’s technological environment. A mandatory reporting regime will further enhance collaboration between the Internet service industry and law enforcement which will result in greater protection for our children from online sexual exploitation.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or e-mail sorenk1@parl.gc.ca.

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