Canadian Prime Minister Pledges to Raise Age of Consent for Sex to 16 from 14
Thursday April 20, 2006
By Gudrun Schultz
OTTAWA, Ontario, April 20, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Prime Minister Stephen Harper is following up on the Conservative Government’s promise to raise the age of sexual consent in Canada to 16 from the present age of 14, CTV reported yesterday.
Speaking to the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce in Winnipeg yesterday, Mr. Harper unveiled plans for justice reform, among them a “long overdue” revision to the current sexual consent law that dates from 1892. Under the new reform, sexual activity between an adult and a young person aged 14 or 15 will no longer be legal in Canada.
“As many of you will know, this change will bring us in line with most of the countries of the world,” Mr. Harper said.
“It is long overdue and it is particularly important in the age of the Internet where young people are increasingly targeted by cyber-predators.”
Canada has received harsh criticism in the past by international groups for failing to address the sexual exploitation of children under one of the lowest age-of-consent laws in the world. Canada’s growing reputation as a sex-tourism location has concerned a majority of Canadians, who want to see more protection for young people from adults who capitalize on the country’s easy sexual access laws.
A 2002 poll found that 80% of Canadians support changing the age of consent from 14 to at least 16 years of age. Despite concerns, numerous attempts to change the law have been unsuccessful in the past. Last September two proposals to raise consent age were defeated in Parliament by a coalition of Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois MPs.
Mr. Harper challenged the Opposition to support the justice reform measures, saying, “We know where Canadians stand, they are with us. It’s now time for the Opposition to tell us where they stand.”
Canada’s growing reputation as a sex-tourism location has concerned a majority of Canadians, who want to see more protection for young people from adults who capitalize on the country’s easy sexual access laws.