Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 29, 1999
Parents campaign against child porn
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Parents at Cardinal Leger Catholic School are urging other groups in the province to join them in their crusade against child pornography.
The group already has one ally - the Edmonton Catholic School Board, which recently dispatched a letter to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien demanding federal intervention to stop child pornography.
The Cardinal Leger's parent council, which represents more than 440 students and 300 families, is asking school boards, parent councils and parish councils throughout Alberta to press politicians for decisive action to stop the legalization of possession of child pornography.
The campaign stems from a January B.C. Supreme Court ruling which said the law against possessing child pornography is an unfair limitation on an individual's freedom of expression.
The purpose of the campaign is to overturn the B.C. ruling and to make sure that a similar judgement doesn't happen in Alberta, said council chair Vincent Capri.
"We are very upset with the ruling and the federal government's lack of immediate, direct, decisive action to stop the legalization of possession of child pornography in any part of Canada."
In Capri's view, tolerating the possession of child pornography encourages the consumption of child pornography and ultimately the sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
"If we say child pornography exists and that it's legal to exist, then it must be legal to take the pictures," he reasoned.
"And if it's legal to take the pictures that means some child has to go through the sexual acts to get the picture taken. So are we saying it's legal to have the children go through the sexual acts?"
The Edmonton Catholic school board took immediate action following the B.C. ruling. In a letter to Chrétien, board chair Ron Zapisocki decried the ruling and demanded decisive federal action.
"We, in the Edmonton Catholic School Division, believe that such a ruling requires the strongest response in protest in defence of the rights of children who are the innocent victims of child pornography," the letter says.
Zapisocki's letter said although it is possible the B.C. court ruling will be overturned, "steps should be taken immediately to amend the legislation so that it complies with the Charter of Rights yet prohibits possession anywhere at any time of pornography, particularly child pornography."
Capri has urged all 82 local Catholic school councils to write to Chrétien and to the premiers and attorneys general of both British Columbia and Alberta.
In a recent presentation to the school board, he urged trustees to use their influence to reach other school boards and professional associations.
"Child pornography should not exist or be tolerated in any form in our country and must be stopped at all levels," Capri told trustees March 15.
Capri believes Catholic parishes also have a significant role to play in the anti-child pornography campaign.
"There is a place for parishes to voice their concern on behalf of children and families," he said.