Catholic groups applaud anti-child porn legislation

By 
  • November 27, 2009
{mosimage}OTTAWA - REAL Women of Canada and the Catholic Civil Rights League are applauding the federal government’s efforts to curb child pornography on the Internet.

“The Conservative government apparently has a grasp of the horrors of child pornography and the fact that Canada has the second highest worldwide rate, behind the U.S., for hosting child-porn sites,” said a news release from REAL Women Nov. 25.

On Nov. 24, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson introduced Bill C-58, a third piece of legislation that would make it mandatory for Internet Service Providers to alert police of sites that link to child pornography and any tips they receive about sites they host. In June, he introduced two related bills: Bill C-46 that would require providers to give police the e-mail addresses and provider addresses of child porn viewers; Bill C-27 would require providers to create the technical ability for police to obtain information about clients.

“The creation and distribution of child pornography are appalling crimes in which children are brutally victimized over and over again,” said Nicholson in a release. “A mandatory reporter 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.”

“It’s excellent to see the attempt being made to stop this scourge,” said rights league executive director Joanne McGarry. “Child pornography is just the lowest of the low. When you read anything about it you want to take a shower afterwards.

“We need to take all steps possible to protect our children and children around the world.”

“The police really have to work with one hand behind their back trying to get access to Internet servers,” said REAL Women national vice president Gwendolyn Landolt. “The Internet servers are now going to be obliged to report any action, any information on the people who are using child porn. Before that if they wanted to have access to this material they had to have a warrant.”

Landolt, a former Crown prosecutor, said one drawback of the legislation is that the providers only have to report child pornography when they are aware of its presence. This will mean a large amount of material will not be detected.

Yet at the same time, she has no worries that providers taking a greater surveillance role in child pornography will affect freedom of expression in other areas.

“I think child pornography is clearly defined,” she said. “You have a balance in any society in the freedoms of the individuals and the protection of individuals. You have to protect the most vulnerable of people in our society. I don’t think it will affect freedom of speech and freedom of expression because it is so vile and so despicable.”

One of the problems is once they circulate these photographs these children are defiled constantly, even when children grow up to be adults, she said.

McGarry agreed steps had to be taken to protect children in Canada and around the world.

“We welcome the attempt to address this scourge and trust that privacy concerns can be worked out at the committee stage.”

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