Dalhousie Law Journal


child pornography, Canada, United States, public safety, freedom of expression, criminal code, criminal law, Supreme Court of Canada, comparative law, rights


Child pornography is an increasing worldwide concern and is one of the most active fronts in the ongoing battle between freedom of expression and public safety and morality. In 2005, the child pornography provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code were amended in response to the controversial decision of the Supreme Court in R. v. Sharpe. Similar legislative response has occurred in the United States following the U.S. Supreme Court decision inAshcroft v. Free Speech Coalition. A comparative examination of the legislative and judicial treatments of the issue of child pornography in these countries reveals that despite reaching differing rights-balancing positions, the debate in both nations revolves around similar points. Further to this analysis, the difficult issue of child pornography is used as an example of how a theory of rights involving judicial review as championed by Ronald Dworkin, may be preferable to a democratic foundation of rights as suggested by authors such as Jeremy Waldron.