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Online harms bill: Don't link boy's suicide with government actions, Trudeau says

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it's inappropriate to draw a link between government actions and the death of a British Columbia boy who killed himself last month after falling prey to online sextortion.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh referred to the death of the 12-year-old in Prince George, B.C., during question period today as he asked Trudeau when the Liberal government will table long-promised legislation designed to mitigate online harms.

Trudeau first promised to introduce legislation tackling hate speech, terrorist content and sexual abuse material in the 2019 federal election campaign.

He made a similar promise in the 2021 contest, specifying that a re-elected Liberal government would table a bill within its first 100 days, but it has yet to do so.

Trudeau told MPs today that the government needs to strike the right balance between freedom of expression and addressing the needs of communities subject to "discrimination and marginalization."

The prime minister also cautioned against "associating a tragedy that happened in Prince George with actions or inactions of any particular government," adding in French that it was inappropriate to make such a connection.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2023.

The Canadian Press