MP REPORT: Bill tackles cyber bullies

Legislation provides protection for Canadians and particularly youth

Canadians have read in horror of the tragic suicides of teens bullied through social media. Often intimate images have gone viral without the consent of those in the images.

With the click of a computer mouse, a person can be victimized before the entire world.

As we have seen far too often, such conduct can destroy lives.

It clearly demands a stronger criminal justice response.

Your government takes seriously this type of bullying and Justice Minister Peter MacKay has introduced a bill to address this issue.

This bill will prohibit the non-consensual distribution of intimate images; empower a court to order the removal of the intimate images from the Internet; permit the court to order forfeiture of the computer, cell phone or other device used in the offence; provide for reimbursement to victims for costs incurred in removing the intimate image from the Internet or elsewhere; and empower the court to make an order to prevent someone from distributing intimate images.

Steven Blaney, the minister of public safety and national security, stated, “As part of Bullying Awareness Week, we are committed to reminding victims that they are not alone, and encouraging them to reach out to a teacher, a trusted adult, a parent or a friend.  Bullying, whether online or off, is a problem that affects us all, and we all have a role to play in stopping it.”

Your government is also supporting the development of a number of school-based projects to prevent bullying, as part of $10 million in funding that was committed in 2012 towards new crime prevention projects.

Citizens have the liberty to use the Internet freely and without scrutiny by government as long as the exercise of that liberty does not compromise the liberty of a fellow citizen.

Colin Mayes is MP for Okanagan-Shuswap.