Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 10, 2005
Sexual consent age stays at 14
Parliament votes down bill to raise age to 16
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Canada continues to have one of the lowest ages of consent among countries in the Western world, after the House of Commons defeated two efforts by Conservatives to raise the age from 14 to 16.
On Sept. 28, MPs defeated Conservative MP Rick Casson's private member's Bill C-313 by a vote of 167 to 99, as well as Conservative MP Nina Grewal's private member's motion by a vote of 169 to 100.
"The battle to protect Canada's children will not end," Casson said in a Sept. 29 statement. "This is an issue that matters to Canadians and is part of the Conservative Party of Canada's policy statement and we look forward to campaigning on this issue in the upcoming election."
"I encourage Canadians represented by MPs who opposed this bill to contact their MPs to ask why they failed to vote to protect children," the Lethbridge MP said.
Gwen Landolt, vice president of Real Women of Canada, told CCN that pedophiles are attracted to Canadian youth and adolescents because they know they would be charged in the United States or the United Kingdom.
The Liberal government opposed the motion, and many MPs who had voted against the government on changing the definition of marriage, voted against raising the age of consent.
However, many NDP MPs who voted for same-sex marriage voted with the Tories to raise the age of consent.
Landolt said many of the pro-family Liberals who voted against raising the age of consent stepped in line with the party because they need party support and don't want to be "offside" as an election shapes up.
Criminalize 'puppy love'
Justice Minister Irwin Cotler's office advised Liberal MPs Casson's bill would criminalize youth who engage in consensual sexual activity.
Cotler's office said a bill passed in July to protect children and other vulnerable persons "includes provisions that achieve the same objective" of protecting children.
Grewal, who represents the B.C. riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells, told the house more than 80-per-cent of Canadians want the age of consent raised to protect children from sexual predators.
"Kids in Grade 8 or 9 are not mature enough to drink, drive, smoke or watch certain movies, but the government believes 14-year-olds can make adult decisions when it comes to sex," she said.
"This is not about puppy love, but about perverts preying on our children. We need to act now before more innocent lives are ruined."