More Trudeau misinformation: Conservative porn bill would NOT require digital ID

The federal Conservatives clarified their porn legislation would not use digital ID to infringe on the privacy of Canadians or their right to access content online.

More Trudeau misinformation: Conservative porn bill would NOT require digital ID
The Canadian Press / Ethan Cairns and The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Tory counterpart continue to spar in the House of Commons — this time over pornography.

On Wednesday, Pierre Poilievre proclaimed his party’s support for a Senate porn bill that would mandate age verification to access sexually explicit content.

He said a future Conservative government would legislate the same but did not specify how age would be verified.

This prompted Trudeau to take potshots at the Conservatives on Thursday, accusing them of not prioritizing the safety of children.

"Instead of stepping up to stand for protecting our kids through responsible, serious legislation, he's proposing that adults … create a digital ID … to browse the web the way they want to," said Trudeau.

"That's something we stand against and disagree with," he added.

A recent study titled Teens and Pornography showed 73% of teenagers aged 13 to 17 have viewed online pornography at least once. Over half of the participants (54%) admitted to viewing sexually explicit content before or by the age of 13.

The company that owns Pornhub recently told The Canadian Press it would block access to Canadians if the Senate bill passed — granted the bill receives Commons support. They argue the collection of highly sensitive personal information jeopardizes user safety.

Enforcement options not explicitly outlined in Bill S-210 include the use of a digital government ID or the use of a webcam application to approximate a person’s age. 

Following Poilievre’s brief issuance of support for the bill, the Office of the Official Opposition clarified the party rejects the use of digital ID to infringe on the privacy of Canadians and their right to access legal content online.

The Official Opposition also rebuked Trudeau’s claim, saying they support the bill as minors should not have access to online pornography, with laws already in place to prevent in-person access.

"Justin Trudeau is doing what he knows how to do best — deceiving and dividing Canadians, this time misleading them on the effects of a bill that has the support of MPs from every party," said Tory spokesperson Sebastian Skamski.

However, the Conservatives have yet to table alternative solutions to make the bill a reality, reported The Canadian Press.

Tory MP Karen Vecchio sponsored the bill in the Commons last spring after it passed the Senate as a private members bill.

"There should be no direct collection of identity documentation by the site publisher from the pornographic site, no age estimates based on the user's web browser history and no processing of biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying or authenticating a natural person," reiterated Vecchio in the Commons last November.

Bill S-210 remains before a Commons committee for study, but no meetings have been scheduled as of writing.

Only the governing Liberals rejected the legislation after getting a second reading last December. It has support from Bloc Québécois and New Democrat MPs, as well as 15 Liberal backbenchers.

Those opposed to the bill claim their online harms legislation will offer more comprehensive safeguards to protect children from sexually explicit content. Trudeau claimed Tuesday his online harms bill is "specifically focused on protecting the kids."

"We need to do a better job keeping kids safe online from child sexual exploitation," he added Wednesday.

The prime minister blames Conservatives for allegedly mischaracterizing the bill as internet censorship legislation, calling Tory Leader Pierre Poilievre "irresponsible" and "not serious" for playing politics.

Poilievre refuted the suggestion, citing the bill as infringing on free expression and calling Trudeau a "woke authoritarian."

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