CORNWALL, Ontario -
Glen Canning has seen the dark and devastating side of technology.
He says it’s time to expose it to the preventive light of legal scrutiny so no family has to suffer the torment that traumatized his. On June 17 he’ll make that case as guest speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Children’s Treatment Centre at the Best Western Plus Parkway Inn.
Canning is the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, the Nova Scotia teenager who took her own life in April 2013 after a photo of an alleged rape went viral on the Internet and social media. An outspoken activist, Canning has been highly critical of authorities for declining to lay charges because of insufficient evidence, and of the justice system for failing to take a tougher stand against the online sharing of harmful photos like the one that prompted his daughter’s suicide.
But he’s encouraged by new provincial measures enacted in response to her death. Last August, Nova Scotia passed a law allowing victims of cyber bullying to seek protection, including help in identifying anonymous perpetrators. Those victims can now sue offenders, or their parents in the case of minors.
On the federal level, Canning spoke to a parliamentary committee in support of controversial Bill C-13, which would force telecom companies to give police the online records of suspects in cases like his daughter’s. The bill is still working its way through the House.
“I am a father who has lost a daughter — a beautiful, intelligent, kind, and promising daughter,” says Canning. “Because of that, I am angry, I am hurt, and I am determined to do what I can to address and attempt to fix a serious flaw in our criminal justice system.” He says police should have the tools to quickly stop the spread of damaging online material and bring perpetrators to justice.
In his speech, the activist will talk about sexual assault and cyber bullying, and their devastating effects on his daughter. Open to the public, the Annual Meeting starts at 7 p.m.