Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bill Watch - Wacky Conservatives (and Liberals) Edition

Here is a brief list of wacky and/or anti-women Bills currently under consideration before the House of Commons or the Senate.

  • Bill C-206 (Liberals): A Bill to allow for 2 years of parental leave, under the Employment Insurance Act;
  • Bill C-22 (Conservatives): This Bill would raise from 14 to 16 years old the age of consent to sexual contacts with an adult (while keeping a 5 year difference rule that will avoid criminalizing bona fide dating relationships between teenagers). Though I generally agree with this measure, there are a few details with this Bill that make me tick. First, it's called the Age of Protection Act. Give me a break. Please. Let's be honest: the real issue here is not to protect teenagers from themselves, but rather to criminalize the exploitative behaviour of adults who prey on vulnerable children. I know it's a shaky argument, but I can see a nuance here. Secondly, there is still a marriage exception. After all, I guess it's not as if marriage had been in and of itself an exploitative social structure for the few past thousand years or so... By the way, this Bill as yet to receive Royal assent;
  • Bill C-338 (Liberals - surprise!): This Bill purports to make a criminal offence the fact of "procuring a miscarriage of a female person who he or she knows or ought to know is past her twentieth week of gestation." This offence would be punishable by a maximum term of five years' imprisonment or a $100,000 fine. Well. Ain't that swell. 'Seems now you can't trust the Liberals to protect women's right to choose. But it's not as if it was arbitrary or anything. There is a health exception. If you've been raped, you're still screwed, but they'll sure show you a little compassion if you're dying... *sigh* Don't we all love this great, grand "Americanization" of Canadian politics?

To be fair, here are the Bills that represent a laudable effort in the right direction:

  • Bill C-235 (Conservatives): A Bill to amend s. 742.1 Criminal Code, so as to preclude a sentencing judge to impose a conditional sentence where the offender has committed an offence carrying a minimum term of imprisonment, an offence punishable by ten years or more of imprisonment, and/or a violent offence. That would mean, in practice, that offenders convicted of sexual assault would not be eligible to a sentence of "imprisonment" in the community. Now Bill C-9, it has just received Royal assent;
  • Bill C-254 (Liberals): A Bill that would have the effect of including "women" in the definition of identifiable groups that can be targeted by hate propaganda. This Bill is apparently still in limbo;
  • Bill C-326 (NDP): This Bill would add "gender identity" as a basis for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act.


Valerie Smith said...

Hi - Bill C-254 is not in limbo. It's deceased. The Conservatives defeated it on April 19, 2007. I went to the press conference and sat in the House to watch the vote. This is the second time the Conservatives have defeated the Bill. There is more info on this issue on my web site in the Hate Propaganda section.
Val Smith

Oni Baba said...

Ugh... This is so disheartening... You really can't trust those people on Parliament Hill...