12.11.2015 12:53 PM

This is a f**king disgrace

I am shocked.

“The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has struck down an anti-cyberbullying law passed in response to the death of Rehtaeh Parsons, calling the legislation a “colossal failure” and saying it infringes on charter rights.

The Cyber-Safety Act was the first law passed in Canada aimed at protecting victims of online harassment. The Nova Scotia government introduced it two years ago under intense public pressure after Parsons, a 17-year-old girl, was bullied, attempted suicide and subsequently died.

Parsons’s family alleged she was sexually assaulted in November 2011, when she was 15, and bullied for months after a digital photo of the incident was passed around her school. She was taken off life-support after attempting suicide in 2013.”

19 Comments

  1. pipes says:

    It trivializes the poor child’s tortuous death. If I were the parent I would to a def con 1.

  2. cgh says:

    No, what is a disgrace is that the government wrote and passed a stupid law that was so egregious that it was struck down instantly rather than providing a typical one-year grace period to fix it.

    • Scotian says:

      Got to say, that pretty much sums it up from where I sit. I thought it was going to run into this trouble when the Dexter government rushed it through without sufficient critical consideration of the ramifications (because of course of the political pressures he was feeling, especially between the level of scrutiny and this happening in his own riding), and the fact that the NSSC struck it down without any grace period underscores just how badly this law was written. The intent may have been a good one (although given how Dexter handled this entire issue from the outset I’m having a hard time with that benefit of the doubt) but this was clearly bad law that would do far more harm than good. Hopefully the MacNeil government learns from this and writes a decent anti-cyber bullying law that brings some honour to the sad events that drove Rehtaeh Parson to end her life, and the incredibly disgraceful initial reaction/conduct/behaviour that first followed that tragic event.

      This is a stain on the honour of this Province and Halifax, and as a born-and-bred Haligonian it stings me deeply. While I cannot help but agree that this law needed to be struck down because of how badly it was written, the underlying issue/problem needs to be properly refined and rewritten into better law, because this is a problem that is not going to easily go away and will/does need active legal remedy that makes sense to bring this under control.

      The NSSC did the only thing it really could, it is just too bad that it adds a further negative to the legacy of Rehtaeh Parsons life and death, that for me is the real f**king disgrace. Yet another good example of why the Dexter government deserved to lose power after its first term in office, this shouldn’t have been screwed up like this, yet it was, and it was entirely foreseeable and was as I recall so foreseen by serious people down here at the time.

      • cgh says:

        I agree with all of that, Scotian. As for good intentions, well, we all know what’s paved with that.

        • Scotian says:

          Well, it certainly seemed to pave the Dexter government’s road there. I’ve often wondered just how much that may have been the final straw for so many Nova Scotians when it came to throwing it out after only one term and giving the MacNeil Libs that majority. Sometimes it is the easily relatable scandals and issues like this one which really connect and drive home such things much more than the bigger incompetence and fiscal mismanagement scandals. Likely because these are so much easier to relate to and understand by the average/ordinary person, and when someone bungles it or is playing it for its political values first it comes through so much louder and clearer. I really do not know, I just know that it clearly had a real impact on that election as an underlying motive from the conversations I was having with people before, during and immediately after it.

          This was always a sad affair at the personal and political levels, and the belated scramble by Dexter, which included this legislation which was just destroyed by the court, only adds to that disgrace. Let us all hope and pray that this is the last such where Miss Parsons and her family are concerned, and that some real good comes out of this by way of real, effective anti cyber-bullying legislation.

          • cgh says:

            The tragedy is that it’s the “incompetence and fiscal mismanagement” that destroys far more lives than any specific scandal or personal tragedy. How many lives over how many generations is the current US regime going to destroy because of its blundering over the past six years? Millions.

  3. Shaun says:

    What are you suggesting is the disgrace here? Justice McDougall’s decision, or the legislation itself?

  4. cs says:

    how tragic!!!

  5. Rich says:

    The coverage I have seen elsewhere indicates that such legislation will be revisited. Apparently there were concerns, which I am not qualified to explain, but they will be addressed if there is a second piece of legislation. So it is likely this is not over by a long shot ….just this incarnation.

  6. Bill Malcolm says:

    If anyone actually stopped to read what the judge said, it was the too-broad definition of cyber-bullying that caused him to strike the act down. It infringed on free speech, like the headline on this post posted with impunity.

    Of course the law will be revisited and some real effort put into defining what is illegal, rather than rushing a tyranny of the majority, social-media-style dunning of free speech that emotion led to passing the act in the first place.

    But you Ontarians know best of course.

    • Justin says:

      I’m an ontarian and I agree with you Bill. You can’t have a law where just because someone’s feelings are hurt the law must get involved.

  7. Mike says:

    Bad facts make bad law.

    Here’s a link to the decision: http://bit.ly/1OmvG8O

    Here’s a link to commentary from the defendant’s lawyer who argued the case: http://blog.privacylawyer.ca/2015/12/nova-scotias-cyberbullying-law-declared.html

    There were lots of lawyers who said that the Cyberbully legislation was DOA. This wasn’t at all surprising.

  8. gyor says:

    I tried to read through that, wow, that is a painfully dry thing to read.

    I do think I got the point, that it violated the charter on freedom of expression, which I agree with, they’re overly broad. I’m sure they can refine it.

    I don’t think that the Judge was trying to say that Cyberbullying is okay, just that the legislation needs to revision to protect rights.

  9. david says:

    I’m not sure whether Kinsella is calling the legislators or the ruling, or quite possibly both, a disgrace. Either way, my take as a commoner amongst what appears here to be yet another debate among Middle Ages pseudo-scholastics (read: members of our legal community) defining in fine razors of precision ‘common sense’, is this community has long lost it, generally speaking.
    I’m offering 4 free tickets to “Crazy Bill Ockham’s Waterslide Theme Park” why you wouldn’t apply Humanism legal philosophy to such an obviously common sense human issue.
    My daughter and her friends could in Middle School.

    (liked the come back up there about Kinsella coming from Ontario, btw. Toronto more specifically, I think. Even better, I’d add. Except he’s from Quebec and Alberta, really. Redneck lamb’s wool)

  10. A. Voter says:

    I wonder if the bill the Quebec government is preparing to monitor things such as Facebook comments about minorities would stand up to a free speech challenge.

  11. patrick says:

    I’m sure the Supreme Court struck down a bad law and not the intent of the law. It’s hardly a disgrace, other than, understandably, the politicians reacting to the moment and not taking the time to clearly present a law.

  12. Johhny says:

    Bad law. Great decision.

  13. Kev says:

    If you are on the same side as an issue as “It’s the Stupid Charter” Levant, reconsider.

  14. Dan Calda says:

    It had begun…those that offered criticism toward local gov’t were told to cease and desist.
    Not only a bad law…just plain bloody scary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*