Clean Internet Act (Bill C-427).

The Clean Internet Act (Bill C-427) is a private member’s bill which makes one wonder about many things. Since this is not a forum for political discussion, as such, I won’t mention the primarily political, ethical, philisophical, educational, intellectual, educational, and other rational things it makes me wonder about. Since this is a legal forum, I will mention that it makes me a wonder about the nature and extent of the training in law or legal issues possessed by anyone involved in the drafting and presentation of this work.

Read about the presenter’s rationale at the second of the links I’ve listed. The news release describes the purpose of the proposed bill:

“An Act to prevent the use of the Internet to distribute child pornography, material that advocates, promotes or incites racial hatred, and material that portrays or promotes violence against women.”

Then it ends with

“In an age when the Internet is increasingly being used for criminal and exploitive purposes, it is the responsibility of parents and all Canadians to protect our vulnerable citizens”, says MP Smith. “This Clean Internet Act is one more step towards ending violence and exploitation of women and children in Canada and abroad.” 

Am I missing something or did MP Smith forget about a significant number of Canadians some of whom, at least, are worth protecting? I might be wrong about this, but I’m reasonably sure that the citizenry of Canada includes males over the age of 18, some of whom are being exploited in ways some might find offensive (even without considering the plight of Maple Leaf fans). Indeed, it’s even reasonably possible that at least one or two of Ms. Smith immediate superiors in the current Canadian government are members of that portion of the Canadian citizenry.

Read all about it at Michael Geist’s Blog and let’s consider ourselves fortunate that (1) it is not a government bill, even though introduced by a member of the party currently in power and (2) given the political constraints under which that party currently operates, the bill will probably never get out of first reading. I’ll simply quote Prof. Geist’s summary:

“Given that this is a private member’s bill, it is very unlikely to become law. That said, this bill would not look out-of-place in countries that aggressively censor the Internet and it makes the dangerous Jennings lawful access bill look positively harmless by comparison.”



  1. Not surprisingly, the views of other informed experts match those of Michael Geist, including the comments that the bill (implication: proponent) is “out to lunch”. Here’s the link to a CBC article.

    Even more “not surprisingly” the MP responsible for the bill was not available for comment. I assume that that was because she was also out to [oops, I mean out for] lunch.

    Is anybody here prepared to be as cynical as I am and assume the Harperite government is behind that thing appearing as a private member’s bill? As a trial balloon so to speak. The Tory control of its caucus makes me doubt, very much, that Ms. Smith would have introduced the bill without permission.

    Be that as it may, there must be something in the Smith name when applied to politicians. Even if Canada’s elected politicians aren’t (generally) worth describing, as Twain did for the US Congress, as our only native criminal class, their antics often make one wonder if Canadian politicians’ ‘native’ class is too-often the intellectually, or democratically, or educationally challenged (to use the current politically correct terminology).

    In any event, the US seems to have its own problems with Smith-named politicians, democracy, and and freedom of thought. See the post on the Scrivener’s Error blog.

  2. No – don’t be so cynical. If you’re a Tory backbencher, the Private Members’ Bill ballot is the only chance you have to actually grab a little personal attention. Odds are 99 to 1 against passage – this is a minority government after all. And there are much better ways for the government of floating trial policy balloons than a wacky Private Members’ Bill.

  3. If it hadn’t been for the heart attack, John Smith would have been in 10 Downing Street instead of Tony Blair. Decent and loved politician.

    Of course one can’t forget Iain Duncan Smith and Ian Smith – not to mentn the honourable members for Oxford East for Sheffield, Hillsborough for Basildon, Morecambe & Lunesdale, Redditch, Vale of Glamorgan and West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine.

    And some of us are very fond of the Smith of Smiths

  4. Simon,

    It’s so wacky, though, that it exposes the member and by extension the Harperites to ridicule.

    I vote for that 1 odds.

    Even if it’s not the ruling clique’s bill, I can’t imagine she’d have presented it if they told her not to. And, of course, they had to have known about it after it was put on the day’s order? papers so it could be presented at all for first reading, if not before. So, they could have told her to pull it. They didn’t.

    So, they were content it be presented.

    Or, they’re so incompetent they missed completely.

    Hobson’s choice, for the Harperites.

  5. Simon,

    Well … some Smiths in their modern incarnation(s) as Canadian or American politicians when blathering on freedom of speech and thought issues.

    Will that limitation do?