Many of us remember the crystal-clear-yet-somewhat-embarrassing moment when we caught ourselves struggling to see a nipple on a scrambled pay-per-view channel broadcasting an adult film. Or, we can still feel the weird adrenaline rush when we found our dad’s playboy and opened it to the centerfold.

This was the 1980s or 1990s, when pornography was around, but not all that accessible while underage. For some of us, the first glimpse of an actual porn film wasn’t titillating whatsoever. For some of us, it was the opposite.

I was in grade 6 when the older brother of a classmate popped in a VHS tape one day after school. My very first glimpse of an adult film was a scene featuring 2 men and 1 woman engaging in double penetration.

But I didn’t feel aroused or excited. To be honest, I was completely traumatized. I left the house after less than a minute of watching and went home, confused and bewildered because of what I saw. I didn’t seek out any other forms of pornography for years.

Today, many teenagers would shrug at seeing an adult scene like that, which is a stark departure from when I was a kid. The sheer volume of hardcore pornography, accessible on the devices we buy our kids, is almost incalculable. Young people are desensitized to hardcore content that would make that double penetration scene seem like first base, and until recently, I haven’t seen one politician offer any ideas of how to curb this problem. Moreover, many people seem to think that easily accessed porn isn’t an issue, or that having good parents who put blockers on their kids’ devices is all you need.

Enter Pierre Poilievre. (Enter Pierre Poilievre could also be a workable title for a porn film if Pierre were so inclined. But I digress)

Poilievre, who, since the convoy protest in 2022, has painted himself into an ideological corner with Canada’s vaccine skeptics, rabid Trudeau haters, and, of course, the religious right, announced a plan to help curb kids’ exposure to porn by forcing consumers to prove their age when they visit porn sites.

In the land of amazing ideas, this wasn’t the greatest one, but it was a start, I thought.

Sidenote: Until last year I had spent 6 years working as an assistant librarian in Barry’s Bay. A patron came in once and was viewing pornography on one of our computers. The CEO, myself, and a few other library branches immediately went into action, inquiring through Ontario Library Services as to what we could do to make sure children, who make up roughly half of our patrons, are not exposed to pornography while inside our libraries.

In that situation, there was no recourse we could do officially. We were a publicly funded entity, and so the Charter Of Rights and Freedoms applies. We were floored, thinking that any place children are present should be a safe space.

Despite the disappointing results, we still put pornography blockers on our library computers.

From CTV: ‘Bill S-210 passed in the Senate in the spring and New Democrats, Bloc Quebecois and Conservative MPs voted to send it to a House of Commons committee for study. No such meetings have been scheduled yet.

The proposed law would require websites to verify users’ ages before they can access sexually explicit content, and it would penalize sites that don’t comply.

But it does not specify how that would be done.

Options could include the use of a digital government ID, as some U.S. states have legislated, or services that can estimate age based on a scan of a person’s face.’

On the one hand, I do understand privacy buffs wanting to make sure there is no government intrusion into the masturbation sessions of the nation, but I am also somewhat flabbergasted at the idea that any underage person can view virtually any sex act they can think of within seconds, all in the name of freedom.

Poilievre spokesperson Sebastien Skamsky told reporters a future conservative government would not impose a digital ID system, but as of yet have not offered up any alternatives at the time of this writing.

This might not make me popular in some circles, but I’m glad a public servant has dipped his toe into murky waters of easy access pornography. With two kids of my own, ages 9 and 7, I have more than just a busy-body’s reaction to this issue, and after engaging with a few individuals via social media, I have heard repeated calls for parents to use blockers, or to educate their kids, or that we should stop blaming the porn industry.

I can’t even begin at how narrow those solutions seem. People over 40 never had to deal with the sheer volume of porn at their fingertips when they were youngsters. Yes, porn existed, and has for centuries in one form or another, but we are living in a Caligulian age, where debauchery and abuse and sexual violence is as easy to find as a laughing baby video.

Was this the internet we all thought we were getting when the digital age first broke?

I know what some of you are thinking – this guy is a conservative, or a religious nut. Nope. Not only do I not believe in god, but I am a goddam kinkster at heart. I love sex. But this issue touches more than libido – it speaks to who we are as a people when we worry more about the potential for privacy breaches than we do the current exposure kids already have to adult content.

Is Poilievre motivated by god-fearing folks? Maybe, but who cares? He started a conversation that should have started a quarter century ago, and whatever form an eventual bill in the Houe of Commons takes, if it will prevent children from seeing the type of shit they aren’t ready for, I’m here for it.