Remember those less fortunate this holiday season

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MP REPORT, SCOTT ARMSTRONG

New law targets cyber bullies, increases penalties

The Christmas season is upon us and as we all hustle around to buy that last present or, for some of us, all our presents, I encourage everyone to keep in mind those who are less fortunate. Speaking of those in need, congratulations are in order for the Colchester Food Bank for another successful year in support of those who need help all year round. There are many organizations like our food bank who are organizing efforts to support families who do not have enough for the type of Christmas that most of us are accustomed to. As we celebrate please do your part to help others, after all that is the true spirit of Christmas.

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During the fall session of parliament many issues took center stage including the signing of the Canada Europe Free Trade Agreement, Senate accountability, and the Budget Implementation Act. One that I believe was overshadowed was the tabling, by Justice Minister Peter MacKay, of the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act. This bill will make it illegal to distribute intimate images of persons without the consent of those depicted. The bill will also modernize the investigative powers of police to better enable them to more efficiently and effectively obtain electronic evidence which exists on the Internet or digital devices. Having spoken numerous times with victims of cyber bullying in our riding, including the parents who have lost their children to suicide in part or wholly due to cyber-bullying, one of the most frustrating issues was the lack of power the authorities had to deal with the perpetrators of online bullying.

Our government is serious about this issue and this is why conviction, as a result this new law, will carry up to a five-year prison sentence. Quite frankly, a slap on the wrist which some so-called experts are pushing for as deterrents for cyber crime, will simply not cut it. I stand in full support of this new law and believe that only through tough legislation that carries real penalties and provides the necessary investigative tools for authorities will we be able to get control of this threat to our children and greater society.

Speaking of cyber crime, this week the Minister of Public Safety reminded us to protect our mobile devices and to stay safe online over the holiday season. More and more people are using online devices to purchase products and online shopping continues to expand particularly during the Christmas season.

The Internet and our mobile devices allow us to stay connected like never before, but they’re not without potential risks. It’s so important to follow basic safety guidelines just like we do in our everyday lives. I encourage everyone to visit the GetCyberSafe.ca website to learn more about how to protect yourself.

Visit www.GetCyberSafe.ca for advice, and resources.

Scott Armstrong is the Conservative MP for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

Organizations: Colchester Food Bank, Conservative MP

Geographic location: Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley

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