Canada declines to define porn as a public health hazard

In December 2016, Conservative MP Arnold Viersen introduced a motion to examine the health effects of pornography. This assignment fell to the Health Committee. They debated M-47, a motion to study “the public health effects of online, violent and degrading sexually explicit material of children, women and men.” Bill Casey chaired the committee and invited experts to testify, including Dr. William Fisher, distinguished professor, Department of Psychology, Western University; Dr. Kim Roberts, professor and head of the child memory lab at Wilfrid Laurier University; Dr. Neil Malamuth, University of California (read hearing transcript). The committee also received a number of written briefs, including this extensively-cited brief from Kohut et al.

The committee determined “there is no credible evidence that pornography of any kind causes that behaviour”, identified “ a need to provide children, youth and parents with better and more comprehensive sources of information regarding sexual health and behaviour“, and declined to take further action (full report). Weber & Sullivan (2018) provide a historical overview, regarding how this effort was primarily driven by religious groups, and why this activism that has dominated US politics may have failed in Canada.

Anonymous Scientist