Online harms against minors, victims must be criminalized, not regulated: Poilievre

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says he believes in a tough-on-crime approach to mitigate online safety issues affecting children, rather than regulating them.

Poilievre released a statement today after the Liberal government tabled its long-awaited Online Harms Act on Monday, which would create a new digital safety commission.

The bill would compel social-media platforms to outline how they're reducing risks and force them to quickly remove certain content, including child sex abuse images and intimate images shared without consent.

Poilievre says Conservatives believe in enforcing laws against sexually victimizing children, and they favour criminalizing "bullying a child online" and "inducing a child to harm themselves."

He also says existing criminal bans on the non-consensual sharing of intimate images "must be enforced and expanded," including when it comes to deepfakes generated by artificial intelligence.

Poilievre says such behaviours ought to be dealt with by the police and courts, "not pushed off to new bureaucracy" that he says would fail to better protect children.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2024.

The Canadian Press