OTTAWA, September 29, 2005 ( -Â In an expected vote, but nevertheless shockingly outrageous to many observers, a strong majority of Canada’s Members of Parliament rejectedÂtwo proposals to raise the age of consent for sex from one of the lowest in the world at 14 to 16 – the norm in most of the world, with some nationsÂeven having it at 18.Â

Bill C-313, which would have raised the age of consent, was supported by 99 MPs, including all Conservative Party membersÂand a few Liberals, whileÂthe New Democratic Party, the Bloc Quebecois, and the majority of Liberals combined to defeat the proposal with their opposing 167 votes. A similar motion, M-221, a Private Members Motion from Conservative MP Nina Grewal, was also heard yesterday and defeated by a vote of 100-169.

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, one of the fiercest opponents of the proposals, wanted to ensure 14 year olds were not prevented from engaging in sex.“We don’t want to criminalize innocent sexual behaviour among teenagers and young people,” Cotler said.

Cotler’s intervention wasÂroundly criticized, however,Âas being false since Conservative MP Rick Casson, who proposed the legislation, clearly stated he would be open to adding a near-in-age exception should the bill be approved to go to the committee stage.Â will later publish the Campaign Life Coalition tally of the indidual MPs’ votes on the bill and the motion.

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