Well, it looks like the federal justice committee has just cleared the way for the passage of Bill C-22, which will raise the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16. The Conservatives are calling it the “age of protection,” and are falling all over themselves, claiming to be protecting children from exploitation.
I’ve made my opinions on this issue known in Capital Xtra, and for a short while, I was Egale Canada‘s spokesperson on the issue.
In a nutshell, this law is bad news because it will only serve to repress young people’s sexuality, put them in more danger of contracting STIs while also giving a nod to the religious right who would prefer if parents could keep their teenagers locked up until they turn 21. The law is also as superfluous as it is dangerous. Canada already has strict laws that criminalize any sexual relationship with a young person when there is any evidence of a power imbalance or any form of abuse or exploitation.
To add icing to the cake, the justice committee has also held up one of the last vestiges of Canada’s anti-sodomy laws, by refusing to strike down section 159 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes anal sex unless it’s being performed by two people over the age of 18 (unless they’re married).
Yep, you heard me right. There is a separate age of consent for anal sex. And it’s still on the books.
So in tribute to to all of the young people from the Age of Consent coalition that faced insurmountable odds when they presented in front of the justice committee, I offer you this video from Vancouver’s The Wet Spots (WARNING: not suitable for work):
Cross-posted to Dykes Against Harper