MacKay issues release re: Rehtaeh Parsons inspired review

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Report recomments creating new law against non-consensual distribution of intimate images

A woman holds a photo of Rehtaeh Parsons in Halifax on April 11. Laws have been reviewed as a result of her suicide.

OTTAWA – Central Nova MP Peter MacKay, in his new role as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, issued a statement on Friday regarding the Rehtaeh Parsons case and laws surrounding cyberbullying.   “Following the tragic suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons in April, the federal, provincial and territorial governments agreed unanimously to expedite a review of our laws surrounding cyberbullying," MacKay stated. "Today I am pleased to announce that I have received the report by federal, provincial and territorial officials on cyberbullying and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images." The report recommends creating a new law against non-consensual distribution of intimate images and enhancing current criminal law responses to bullying, including cyberbullying. In addition, the report recommends modernizing – subject to appropriate judicial oversight – investigative powers in the Criminal Code to facilitate the investigation of criminal activity involving electronic communications. The report also recommends that all levels of government continue to build on initiatives to address the issue of cyberbullying in a comprehensive manner, including prevention, education, and awareness-raising activities. “For my part, I will consider the report and its recommendations, which will help guide the way forward to ensuring our children are safe from online exploitation," MacKay said. He said the federal government has taken significant steps toward cracking down on violent crimes, preventing victimization, and addressing the harmful behaviours associated with bullying and cyberbullying. “For example, under the National Crime Prevention Strategy, in the fall of 2012, the Government of Canada committed up to $10 million toward new crime prevention projects, including the prevention of school-based bullying, focused on children and youth."   GetCyberSafe, the Government of Canada’s public awareness campaign on online safety, has information about cyberbullying that includes how to talk to youth about it and how to respond to this type of incident. is a new resource  designed to help youth who have made the mistake of sending sexual images of themselves to peers, which can lead to cyberbullying. The site offers youth tips on removing content, strategies for addressing peers and moving forward, as well as information on possible related Criminal Code violations.   “I sincerely thank federal, provincial and territorial officials for having collaborated on this vital report. I look forward to working together with the provinces and territories as we make improvements to our justice system to prevent such tragic circumstances from happening again.”  

Geographic location: Canada, OTTAWA

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Recent comments

  • Corinne Johnston
    July 21, 2013 - 17:48

    With all due respect to Mr. MacKay and to the family of Rehtaeh Parsons, I think we are forgetting that another young teen, Amanda Todd, was groomed by a pedophile hiding behind a webcam into making a mistake that cost her her life at the hands of brutal and inconsiderate bullies. This happened less than a year ago and already it seems that the powers that be have forgotten her and moved on. Well her family, friends, and supporters have not forgotten her and we would ask Mr. MacKay to please remember her also. She didn't deserve this any more than Ms Parsons and if you study your bullycide statistics Amanda and Rehtaeh are sadly not the only ones who have suffered this fate. Sincerely and Respectfully, Corinne Johnston

  • James A. Black
    July 20, 2013 - 05:23

    Mr. Prime Minister, please stop this stupidity. Enforce the law! Now! The Criminal Laws of Canada are very clear. ... "151. Every person who, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; ..... " How many more people in positions of authority are you going to let rationalize their professional stagnation that has clearly lead to the death of many young people across this country. Mr. Prime Minister, please stop this stupidity. Enforce the law! Now!

  • Mr. Chow
    July 19, 2013 - 19:24

    OMG can anyone read this font it is so small. Does anyone at this paper read what they post to make sure it looks right so people can read them?