News Column

A noteworthy exchange from question period Tuesday in the House of Commons

June 17, 2014

The Canadian Press



OTTAWA - On Tuesday, the NDP's Charlie Angus again asked Justice Minister Peter MacKay about the federal government's cyberbullying bill, and whether it plans changes in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld the need for search warrants in obtaining private information from Internet service providers.

Angus wanted to know whether the government would hive off controversial provisions that critics fear will encourage companies to give police more information about customers' online activities without a warrant.

Angus: Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's inability to balance reasonable legislation with respect for the Constitution and privacy rights of Canadians is getting embarrassing.

The Conservatives ignore legal experts, reject amendments and end up banging their heads against the Supreme Court, like last Friday when the Supreme Court had to remind them that snooping on Canadians without a warrant is illegal. Well, quelle surprise.

This brings us to the cyberbullying bill. Why did the minister not listen to the experts, separate the cyberbullying provisions so that it would be passed through this House, and then allow us to amend the clearly unconstitutional parts of the Conservatives' agenda for snooping on the private rights of Canadians?

MacKay: Mr. Speaker, we received the Spencer decision from the Supreme Court a full two business days ago. However, I will tell the member that the Supreme Court's decision actually confirms what the government has said all along that Bill C-13's proposals regarding voluntary disclosures do not provide legal authority for access to information without a warrant.

In fact, the Supreme Court's affirmation of Mr. Spencer's conviction on possession of child pornography charges very much reinforces the long-held position of this government that children and Canadians in general must be protected from the scourge of cyberbullying, online criminality and certainly sexual exploitation.


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Source: Canadian Press DataFile


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