By Thaddeus M. Baklinski and Steve Jalsevac

  OTTAWA, October 30, 2007 ( – The omnibus anti-crime Bill (C-2) which Canada’s Conservative government introduced on Oct. 18 includes a re-introduced provision to raise the age of consent for sexual activity. Focus on the Family Canada reports the bill is likely to pass and “the age of sexual consent in Canada could soon be raised from 14 to 16”. Meanwhile, in the Oct. 29 Law Times, there are calls for wider input into the complex crime bill and criticisms of the government’s intent to make the vote a confidence vote. That is, if the bill is defeated, a federal election will result.

  Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s Bill C-2 has combined five bills that died on the order paper when the Conservatives prorogued parliament Sept. 4. Bill C-22, the age of consent item that was approved in the House but ended tied up in the Liberal dominated Senate, has now been revived as one of the items in the new bill. The other bills from the previous session that have also been included in C-2 are: C-10, Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Firearms Offences; C-35, Reverse Onus on Bail for Firearm Offences; C-27, Dangerous Offenders; and, C-32, Drug Impaired Driving.

  The Conservatives have also indicated that no amendments to C-2 will be permitted.

  William Trudell, president of the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers, told Law Times that making the vote on the bill a confidence vote and not allowing changes is “wrong.” Frank Addario, president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, said combining the various pieces of legislation into an omnibus bill and linking it to a confidence vote is “bad for civil liberties”.

  However, Focus on the Family and others groups are delighted that the age of consent provision has been re-introduced by the Tories, even though it is packaged with other unrelated crime provisions.

  Focus on the Family’s Todays’ Family News reports that Justice Minister Nicholson said the bill’s intent is to “better protect young people from adult sexual predators.” Focus also notes the age of consent provision is the result of “years of pleading by members of Parliament, provincial governments, police organizations, children’s rights groups, and faith and family advocates”.

  Canada’s current age of consent law dates from 1892 and is one of the lowest in the developed world, where it varies between 16 and 18 years.

  In an interview with Today’s Family News, Dave Quist, executive director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, said of C-2, “I’m very relieved. We’re watching it very closely and we’re very optimistic that we’re actually going to see this bill come to a successful conclusion very quickly.”

  See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

  International Group Urges Canada to Raise Age of Consent, Urges Against Legalizing Prostitution

  Bill to Raise Age of Consent for Sex from 14 to 16 Introduced, Gay Activists Opposed

  Conservative Government Will Raise Age of Sexual Consent

  Canada Bill to Raise Age of Consent for Sex Passes Commons

  Canadian Bill to Raise Age of Consent for Sex from 14 to 16 Dies as Parliament Prorogues