Canada: Age Verification of Adult Content Becomes Election Issue

Canada: Age Verification of Adult Content Becomes Election Issue

SYDNEY, Nova Scotia — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week criticized Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre for stating that if he is elected prime minister, his government will require age verification for adult content.

Poilievre’s comments regarding implementing an age verification system, which echo proposals by anti-porn religious conservatives in the U.S., have been widely reported by media outlets. On Wednesday, when asked whether a governing Conservative Party would require some form of age verification, Poilievre simply said “yes.”

The debate over age verification in Canada currently involves S-210, a bill introduced by Canada’s top anti-pornography activist, Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne, who was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Canadian Senate rather than elected to the post. The bill would require an unspecified age verification method for adult websites, and would hold sites criminally liable if they fail to verify a user’s age.

At an event in Cape Breton on Thursday, Trudeau criticized the opposition leader for “proposing that adults should have to give their ID and personal information to sketchy websites, or create a digital ID for adults to be able to browse the web where they want,” the CBC reported.

“That’s something we stand against,” Trudeau stated unequivocally.

To confuse matters, following Poilievre’s remarks, one of his spokespeople seemingly contradicted his statement, telling the CBC that the Conservative party “does not support requiring users to verify their age through a digital ID.”

The back-and-forth between the leaders of Canada’s two main parties comes in the wake of Trudeau announcing that the government’s forthcoming Online Harms Bill, meant to combat hate speech, terrorist content and some violent material on the internet, could come up for consideration as soon as next week.

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