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37 Dalhousie L.J. 661 (2014)
Time to Unpack the Juggernaut - Reflections on the Canadian Federal Parliamentary Debates on Cyberbullying

handle is hein.journals/dalholwj37 and id is 672 raw text is: 

Jane Bailey*         Time to Unpack the Juggernaut?: Reflections
                      on the Canadian Federal Parliamentary Debates
                      on Cyberbul lying

Cyberbullying has come to the fore in federal parliamentary debate largely in
the last two years in tandem with high profile media reporting of several teen
suicides. The government responded with the Protecting Canadians from Online
Crime Act that incorporates, among other things, criminal law responses to non-
consensual distribution of intimate images and gender-based hate propagation,
but only at the expense of expanded state surveillance. However, a review of the
parliamentary debates reveals a richer array of approaches in which the efficacy
of criminal law responses was contested. This article reports on the diversity
of viewpoints that emerged within the debates, first contextualizing them within
the conceptual complexity of the term cyberbullying and the media focus on
suicide cases. It suggests that cyberbullying has become less a problem and
more a political juggernaut for transporting a broad range of issues, as well as
ideologies, onto the public agenda. The conceptual elasticity of the term has to
some extent facilitated co-optation of tragic suicide cases as a guise for pushing
a tough on crime agenda, while obscuring underlying relational and systemic
issues repeatedly identified by many claimsmakers within the debates.

La cyberintimidation sest faufilee a Iavant-plan dans les debats parlementaires
federaux, surtout au cours des deux dernieres annees, parallelement avec la
multiplication d'articles dans de grands medias traitant de nombreux suicides
d'adolescents. Le gouvernement a reagi en adoptant le projet de loi C- 13, Loi
sur la protection des Canadiens contre la cybercriminalite. La loi comporte, entre
autres dispositions, des reponses penales a la distribution non consensuelle
d'images intimes et a la propagande haineuse fondee sur le sexe, mais
uniquement au prix d'une surveillance accrue par I'Etat. Toutefois, un examen
des debats parlementaires revele un tableau beaucoup plus varie des fagons
dont Iefficacite des mesures de droit criminel a ete contestee. L'auteure fait
d'abord etat de la diversite des points de vue qui sont ressortis des debats :
elle les place d'abord dans le contexte de la complexite conceptuelle du mot
, cyberintimidation - et de Iaccent mis par les medias sur les suicides. Elle
avance que la cyberintimidation est aujourd'hui moins un probleme qu'un veritable
mastodonte politique qui englobe un large eventail de questions et dideologies
pour en faire des enjeux de la politique de I'Etat. Lelasticite conceptuelle du mot
a, dans une certaine mesure, favorise la cooptation des suicides tragiques sous
pretexte de faire avancer un programme de lutte contre la criminalite tout en
masquant les problemes relationnels et systemiques sous-jacents mentionnes a
maintes occasions par de nombreux intervenants pendant les debats.

*   Associate Professor, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law (Common Law Section). Thanks
to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for funding The eGirls Project, a 3-year
research initiative exploring girls' and young women's experiences with online social media, of which
this paper forms a part. Thanks also to Hannah Draper and Miriam Martin for their excellent research
assistance and endurance in reviewing and summarizing years of Hansard relating to bullying and
cyberbullying (among many other topics relating to youth and technology) and to Virginia Lomax for
her editorial assistance.

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