Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Canada's Ideological Divide, In a Nutshell

In Canada, it can be amazing how quickly a basic issue can quickly become clouded in the eyes of the common ideologue.

Sad as it may seem, the Conservative Party's recently-announced anti-child porn legislation is one of those examples.

But issues like this are also an opportunity for Canadians to examine Canada's ideological divide for precisely what it is. In this case, one has the opportunity to examine where each particular ideological camp has situated themselves.

Naturally, both CTV and CBC have reported on the matter. But what's even more interesting than the story itself are some of the reactions to it.

Some Canadians, bizarrely enough, are somehow opposed to these efforts to curb child pornography. The comments section of the story offered by both CTV and CBC have offered not only these individuals an opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter, but through a thumbs up/thumbs down system, have allowed other readers to give an opinion on each readers comments.

Consider the following comment from the story, as posted on the CBC website:It isn't hard to begin unraveling some of the problems with this particular reader's comments.

First off, there's only a certain extent to which proxies and encryptions can protect any particular individual from identification. And while an wifi connection could certainly be hijacked for the purpose of locating and downloading child pornography, an accused individual could quite quickly be cleared through something so simple as an examination of their computer's hard drive.

(There are, naturally, privacy concerns related to police searches of a computer hard drive that may not be sufficiently covered by current legislation, and may require further legislation. That, by its own merit, is actually a rather fair argument.)

As anyone can see, this particular comment was given 22 "thumbs up" (individuals agreeing with the comment), compared to only two "tumbs down" (individuals disagreeing with the comment).

So on that note, it's interesting to see how a dissenting opinion is treated by CBC readers:Certainly, no one is obligated to agree with this particular reader. But it's worth noting that very few Canadians have anything to hide in this particular matter.

The legislation in question isn't an attempt to restrict the civil liberties of Canadians. It's an effort to shut down criminal activity that, by its very nature, preys upon children.

Not that commenters like this one, from CTV, will understand this:Surely, almost all Canadians recognize that child pornography is not a matter of "artistic expression", and that the exploitation of children has no "artistic merit".

That is a basic, fundamental truth that simply requires no explanation. This comment was treated with the amount of merit it deserves -- it received 100 "thumbs down" votes to an inexplicable seven "thumbs up" votes.

Closer to the mark is this reader, who simply pointed out that child pornography is actually a non-partisan (if not a non-ideological) issue:This comment received 44 "thumbs up" votes to a mere three votes down.

Sadly, not everyone will agree that this is a non-partisan issue. The Conservative Party's 2004 attack on Paul Martin is frankly hard to forget.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the House of Commons votes on this issue. To anyone with an ounce of sense, it isn't hard to figure out that this is a bill that should pass unanimously (with fools like Libby Davies in the Commons, it's hard to say if it will).

Whether or not Canadians can put petty politics aside long enough for the bill to pass is another matter entirely.


  1. The problem with some people's notion of freedom is that they don't have a notion of limits. Freedom has to be considered in a philosophical/moral context. The problem is, we've so accepted moral relativism that we can't even stand up for truth when the answer (and exploitation is obvious).

    The "artistic" expression of child sexuality is just not something that should be allowed to be promoted. Little kids do not have the power to fight back, and we adults have to protect them.

  2. I wouldn't make the argument that there are no fundamental or universal truths. I believe there are some. I don't believe that I know what many of them are.

    The necessity of protecting children from sexual exploitation, however, is one fundamental truth about which I have absolutely no doubt.

    I don't think this legislation is perfect. I think that there needs to be mechanisms in place to protect people who may or may not be falsely accused, and mechanisms in place to ensure that the invasion of privacy is limited only to the matter at hand.

    But with those things aside -- issues which can be solved with amendments to this legislation, and with further legislation -- I think this legislation will be good.

    It's unfortunate that some people can't put their partisan or ideological differences aside in order to do this. Moreover, for the first time I really am convinced that Canada's ideological divide has crystalized partially around these two particular news networks.


Post your comments, and join the discussion!

Be aware that spam posts and purile nonsense will not be tolerated, although purility within constructive commentary is encouraged.

All comments made by Kevron are deleted without being read. Also, if you begin your comment by saying "I know you'll just delete this", it will be deleted. Guaranteed. So don't be a dumbass.