CONSERVATIVES CLOSE LOOPHOLE

The Conservative government continued on its quest this week to bring Canada’s laws into the 21st century by introducing legislation to raise the age at which one can have consensual relations. .

The law, which is aimed at offering further protection for our children from s who use the internet and other means, is being welcomed by those in law enforcement. It is also being welcomed by many parents.

Conservative Justice Minister Vic Toews has stated that the new law will not affect teens who engage in conjugal relations with other teens. Those at the age of 14 or 15 will still be legally able to be intimate with those within 5 years of their age. This is known as a close-in-age provision and is being included to exempt young people from becoming criminalized for their actions with each other as that is not the intent of the change.

The current legislation now on the books has been somewhat unchanged since 1892. The Liberals did add a few amendments in 2005 with Bill C-2, but they were somewhat vague and simply allowed many predators to avoid conviction. This new legislation leaves no room for doubt. If you are an adult, keep your hands off of our children.

There are some aspects of our current legislation regarding age of consent that have not been publicized this week. Currently, there is a provision to allow those as young as 12 years old to engage in with a 12 or 13 year old. This has not been mentioned. It is the current version of the close-in-age provision. As well, the current legislation also applies to kissing.

The Toronto Star carried mention of this legislation on June 19, with a headline that stated “Raising age of consent sparks uproar.” Upon reading the column, the reader was quick to learn that opponents of the bar being raised were the usual suspects. Allie Lehmann, the manager of health promotion (is that a real job?) for Toronto Public Health said that “The people that are supporting this bill are anti-sex.”

Ya, right. I am dead against it. I have had my children. It’s time to put an end to it. I say enough! From here on in, everybody, and I mean everybody, is to stay clothed at all times.

What kind of person working for the Public Health department for the largest city in Canada would think that this is a bad move? Does the Toronto Public Health department not see how those not mature or wise enough to make an educated choice in regards to sex have ruined their lives or have been preyed upon? How many 12 year olds are able to support themselves and a child financially or emotionally should they become pregnant?

Allie went on to say “We don’t want the age of consent raised. We think it’s fine at the age of 14. We believe in educating youth to make informed choices.”

Apparently, Allie, you and your colleagues have not been doing a very good job of it. There are still predators out there having a great deal of success luring our children into sexual activity. Once in court, they are able to convince a judge that they were also victimized and were given false signals by these abused children. This law takes away any legal recourse an adult may have had in that regard and leaves them plainly guilty as it should.

The lobbying to change the age of consent law has been underway for some time. It is simply happening now because there is a government in office that is listening to those who are concerned. Law enforcement organizations, the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness, and the Winnipeg-based Beyond Borders, an anti-child exploitation group, all believe that Canada’s current consent law leaves children vulnerable and at risk

So do a great deal of ordinary Canadians.

Paul Gillespie, former head of the Toronto Police child exploitation division has been pushing for changes to this law for years. He too believes that the current Criminal Code provisions aren’t effective enough in dealing with men who prey upon children. “Too much is left up to the legal interpretation of a judge.” he said. Paul went on to add that what he likes about the proposed change is it is very definitive and leaves no reason to speculate on whether the act was illegal or consensual; there is no grey area.

Mr. Gillespie says that children are children and they need to be protected.

He’s got my vote.