Friday, February 17, 2012

An Open Letter To My MP

Have you guys heard of Bill C-30? This is a bill that would do for the citizens of Canada what the Chinese government does to Chinese citizens already, that is, allow them to spy on us without a warrant. It's a horrendous law that directly violates Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Now, the reason I'm scared of it is because a) it's proposed by a government that has shown time and again that it simply does not care about the laws of this land and b) it comes at a time when draconian internet laws are gaining traction in several areas. The only way we can stop this (at least before the inevitable challenge from the courts) is to tell our Members of Parliament, in no uncertain terms, that they will lose votes over this. To that end, here is my open letter to my MP, David Wilks. I encourage every Canadian reading this to alter the first paragraph to apply to you and send this letter to your Member of Parliament. I urge you to send this to any and every Canadian you know who is of voting age if you care about this issue in any way. If you're unsure as to who your MP is, as far too many of us are, you can find them here. This is most important if your MP is Conservative, but it's important no matter where you live in this great country of ours.

Dear David Wilks,

I am writing to you in regards to Bill C-30, also known as the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. I have been a resident of the Kootenay-Columbia riding which you represent for most of my life. If you vote for this bill, I will not vote for you in any future elections, and I will strongly urge everyone I know here to vote against you.

While this bill no doubt is being proposed in with good intentions, it would be an egregious violations of our civil liberties. Section 8 of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms says
"Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure." Warrant-free police access to our online history definitely runs contra to this. By definition, since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of our Constitution, this proposed law is unconstitutional. Should the law pass, it will no doubt be challenged and defeated, meaning that a vote for this bill is a vote for wasting taxpayer money on an unnecessary trial, and in the time between the passing of the law. However, there are other issues with this law that I will briefly outline here.

While I am no fan of "slippery slope" arguments, or any logical fallacies (like the false dichotomy Safety Minister Vic Toews used Parliament when he said that all who oppose this bill are supporting child pornographers) it's not hard to see that this bill will not just hurt those who view child porn. The vast majority of internet users have downloaded or otherwise viewed things illegally, whether it's music, television, movies, literature or visual artwork. Giving police free access to our online history would make outlaws of many Canadians who simply wanted to watch an episode of a TV show they missed on YouTube. Even those who try their best to avoid piracy sometimes partake of it, as many sites that host pirated material also show material with the permission of the rights holders, and many pirate sites disguise themselves as legitimate sources.

Then, of course, there's the fact that this would probably not be effective at stopping the production of child pornography, who likely already know ways to distribute their materials securely. In fact, it would divert police attention to monitoring the millions of innocent Canadian web users, which would be counter-intuitive to stopping crime. How effective it would be even in catching those who view child pornography is something I'd question: These people already hide their habits and presumably use multiple proxy servers which would throw police off their trail. If anything, it would force them to go back to buying paper magazines or DVDs via mail order, something that would be much harder to crack down on.

What this legislation would do is ending Canadian freedom and lead to many people being falsely branded as sex offenders. The "sexting" phenomenon, where teenagers are becoming registered sex offenders for sending pictures of themselves to their boyfriends or girlfriends, is the most well known example of this. Another 2 famous examples are Traci Lords (a porn star who lied about her age and produced many pornographic movies while under 18) and Vanessa Hudgens (a celebrity who had nude pictures of herself leaked, which turned out to have been taken when she was 15). Even without such examples, people can have child porn put on their computers without actually seeking it via viruses, spam and malware. This legislation could turn people who did nothing wrong into sex offenders.

In conclusion, if you value your constituents' freedoms, please vote against this terrible bill.


Ben Dobson Jr.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Ben.

  2. Well done, you should copy and send it along to the senators as well where they can affect the outcome. Cheers.