Last Thursday I had the honour of seeing my private member’s Bill 202 – Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act receive royal assent by our Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell. This is exciting as I will be making Wildrose Party history being the first Wildrose MLA to put a bill forward and seeing it enacted into law. Additionally, I will be the 16th opposition MLA in Alberta’s history to pass a private member’s bill through all three readings in the legislature.
It is incredible that I had the opportunity to move this bill forward and want to thank all the constituents in Bonnyville – Cold Lake for entrusting me with their votes to make this happen. Furthermore, I would like to thank all the MLAs who unanimously passed my bill through the house and all the input that they put into strengthening this bill. This bill is a great example of how all parties in the legislature can work together and put partisanship aside for the betterment of Alberta.
The impact of sharing intimate images can have detrimental social, mental, and physical effects. Now those affected by these actions will have stronger protections in place for harassment or humiliation after a relationship ends.
Now, individuals who can be identified in a video or photo that appear nude or engaged in sexual activity can expect a reasonable amount of privacy as there are deterrents and legal consequences should these images be redistributed. Intimate images sent during the course of a relationship between two individuals should not be used to humiliate anyone after the relationship ends. In some cases these images are posted along with the victim’s personal information including their full name, address and social media profiles. This is especially the case with youth across Alberta.
Alberta will now soon have law to correspond with the ease with which these images can be distributed through technology. Albertans will be able to sue those who share or threaten to share intimate images without their consent.
This Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act creates the provincial tort law necessary to sue another individual who distributes intimate images without consent. The Bill also creates protections for children who violate the act and creates a process where the student that has distributed the images can be recommended for expulsion.
The Bill will work as a tool victims of non-consensual distribution of intimate images can use to seek damages for harm inflicted. The Bill legislates firm protection for students in their schools from their perpetrators and promotes security of that person, as well as prosecuting offenders who use these images to turn a profit, and award the monies earned to the victim.
As a father, I’m proud to see that the legislature has ensured the protection of Alberta’s son and daughters. With this action, my hope is that never again will those victimized by the non-consensual distribution of intimate images result in the taking of one’s own life.
I would like to specially mention those who helped me from inspiration through to the completion of this bill. My daughter Amelia for the inspiration. Cody Johnston for his tireless work. Dr. Bill Bewick and Cadence Bergman for their focus and vision. Samantha Johnston, Cole Hogan and Rebecca Lees for their clear message. The Wildrose Party staff and Legislature staff also did a great amount of work too and need to be commended for their contributions.
Having my family witness this historic event with me made today extra special. My family was allowed to sit in the Speaker’s Gallery and given the opportunity to meet the Lieutenant Governor, Lois E. Mitchell. On a funny note, on meeting the Lieutenant Governor when my 7 year old Charlotte was asked her name she replied, “Why don’t you guess, it starts with a ‘C’”. The Lieutenant Governor laughed and stated that “I am not a very good magician you may need to tell me”.