Today the Conservative Party is attempting to force the Senate to pass their backwards Omnibus Bill C-2 – the Bill that criminalizes youth sexuality in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and makes criminals guilty until they can prove themselves innocent.- They threaten to call an election if this backwards Bill is not passed. When a criminal is prosecuted and serve their time they must be regarded as rehabilitated. Forcing criminals to register for life is a permanent punishment and a denial of justice. Read all about it from the story in CTV NEWS
Read it here
Tories threaten election over crime bill
Updated Wed. Feb. 6 2008 11:30 PM ET
The Tories are stepping up their fight to pass their omnibus crime bill.
Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, which consists of five bills dealing with violent crimes, dangerous offenders, and the age of sexual consent, passed the House of Commons in late November, just before a Christmas break that ended in late January. Now, the Conservatives say they may make the proposed act a confidence matter if the Liberal-controlled Senate doesn’t pass the bill this month.
“When it comes to protecting children, when it comes to mandatory jail terms for people who commit crimes with firearms, when it comes to labeling people as dangerous offenders … we have legislation that will accomplish that and the Senate appears to be holding it up,” Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day told CTV Newsnet’s Mike Duffy Live.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson told the Senate committee on legal affairs that it should pass the bill in February. If that doesn’t happen, he said he would tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper that the bill is a confidence measure and let him deal with it appropriately.
“We say to Liberal senators, and we say to (Liberal Leader) Stephane Dion, tell your Liberal colleagues to push this through,” said Day.
Day called on the public to contact senators to push the bill through.
But senators counter that they don’t understand the government’s rush all of a sudden. They said they are constitutionally required to consider the bill fully and they won’t be strong-armed into speeding up their decision to fit a government-imposed schedule.
Manitoba Senator Sharon Carstairs told Mike Duffy Live that the Tory government is trying to bully the Senate.
“Unfortunately, for Mr. Harper, senators can’t be bullied,” she said.
“We want to hear from the public … particularly on two issues. I am very concerned about the impact of this (bill) on Aboriginal people. Reverse onus bail conditions, for example.”
Reverse onus would require people accused of violent crimes to state why they should receive bail, rather than put the onus on prosecutors to prove why the accused should be kept in jail.
“We do have Charter rights and one of them is to be silent, but you can’t be silent if you have to, in fact, prove reverse onus,” said Carstairs.
She noted that aboriginal people are already disproportionately jailed and the reverse onus requirement may add to their incarceration numbers.
Carstairs said she also wants to hear from social workers about what effect raising the sexual age of consent from 14 to 16 would have on young people living on the streets. She said she is concerned that young prostitutes may be driven underground if the age of consent is raised and that would leave them more vulnerable to exploitation. It could also keep them away from social workers who could help them escape their plight.
Carstairs noted that her concerns may turn out to be incorrect, but she said she wants to hear from experts before she makes a knee-jerk decision on the matter.
Nicholson has said he doesn’t understand why it would take the Senate much time to analyze the bill since it has already been studied in one form or another over the years. The bill had to be re-introduced in the fall because Harper cut the last parliamentary session short.
“You can do anything you want,” Nicholson told the Senate committee.
“You can study this for a year if that’s what you want … It’s our option to go to the people of Canada and ask them to decide on this.”
Nicholson’s threat that the Tories could turn the bill into a confidence motion may face a few hurdles. The Senate is not bound to Confidence rules. Harper may have the option of going directly to Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean to call an election on the matter.
With files from CTV’s Jed Kahane and The Canadian Press
Read the Xtra article below
Gays ignored on Bill C-2
SEX LAWS / Community opposition didn’t get noted
“We didn’t hear from the gay community on this,” says NDP MP Joe Comartin, who sits on the justice committee that has been holding hearings on Bill C-2.
Comartin is startled when told that three key gay organizations – Egale Canada, the Coalition For Lesbian And Gay Rights In Ontario, and the Sex Laws Committee – each submitted position papers outlining serious concerns with Bill C-2, the Martin government’s legislation aimed at clamping down on child porn.
“We didn’t get them,” says Comartin. He could have used them, he adds, noting he was a sometimes solitary voice on the committee opposing excesses in the bill that could seriously hamper the freedom of artists and writers and discriminate against the rights of teens to choose their own sexual expressions.
Tom Warner of the Sex Laws Committee is furious that the gay community’s written submissions didn’t make it to Comartin.
“It is really quite astonishing and, frankly, outrageous that the committee members would not have been provided with a copy of each of the submissions,” he says. “That suggests someone along the way made a decision that our views are not important. They didn’t decide to ignore the views of the Evangelical Fellowship Of Canada or REAL Women.
“Now it’s going to look like we had nothing to say.”
The gay community had lots to say on Bill C-2, along with civil libertarians and groups representing journalists, writers and artists. Some opposing groups and individuals focussed in on the proposed law’s attempt to control child pornography, which they warned would result in legitimate art and journalism being wrongly labelled by police and Crown prosecutors, causing writers, journalists and artists to face trial.
Egale’s position paper says the law creates a definition of child pornography that is too broad and defences that are too narrow, board member Hilary Cook told Capital Xtra in May. The bill would remove artistic merit as a defence and require an artist or writer to prove the work fulfilled a “legitimate purpose” – a legally vague term which is not defined in the proposed law.
Gay literature about coming out could be considered child porn under the new criteria, said Cook in May. “We can’t even talk about our own upbringing? Acts that are legal, you can’t describe or make art about?”
The reality is that close family members commit most child abuse, says Comartin. But Bill C-2 focusses instead on the work of artists, writers and journalists. Comartin says he was impressed by the reasoning of the BC Civil Liberties Association that works of the imagination should not be illegal. Only works that rely on actual child victims should be outlawed.
“If we do not have an actual victim, there shouldn’t be any bars,” he says.
The final wording will result in artists and writers facing trials. Comartin believes they will ultimately win, and the courts will rewrite the law to be more open to artistic freedom. But artists should not have to face expensive trials that damage their reputations, he says. And given society’s homophobia, he suspects that police and Crown prosecutors will be even more likely to charge gay writers and artists.
“I hope I’m wrong, but it’s opened it up,” he says.
Gay groups further focussed on the bill’s attempts to protect children from sexual exploitation. While the objective is worthwhile, all three groups said, the proposals go too far, and end up discriminating against the rights of gay youth to choose when to become sexually active and with whom.
The Toronto-based Sex Laws Committee’s position paper argued, “The danger presented by the criminal code provision is that any same-sex consensual relationship involving a person over the age of 18 years and a person who is under the age of 18 but over the age of 14 will be deemed exploitative. There is a plausible risk, under this new amendment, that the older person will always be presumed to be exploiting the younger person and ‘luring’ them into a homosexual lifestyle.”
Comartin says the NDP sees some of the same shortcomings in the bill as do gay and civil libertarian groups. But he’s been consistently out-voted in committee by shifting coalitions – sometimes the Liberals and Conservatives working together, other times the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois.
The Conservatives attempted to amend the bill to outlaw any sex involving teens under the age of 16, says Comartin. They failed.
But the surviving language “could catch relationships that are not exploitative,” says Comartin, a career trial lawyer. “Similarly, if you have a fundamentalist judge offended by a youth under 18 taking part in sexual acts, it’s broad enough to catch that.”
Bill C-2 has now passed through the committee stage and the revised version will return to Parliament for second and third reading in the near future.
Here is a warning for the Conservatives. If this Bill C-2 passes I personally intend to publicly violate the new law and continue to court, date and engage in recreational sex with boys as young as 14 years old. I’m not going anywhere. I will see to it that I am charged and I will win. The future of Canada is too important to permit a culture of shame, fear and lies. This will be prevented through pride, courage and truth. A civil lawsuit against the Federal Conservative party on behalf of all youth aged 14 and 15 as well as on behalf of sexual minorities suddenly forced outside the law will also result. I am prepared to do whatever is neccessary to defend the rights of all Canadians and enforce the separation between Church and State within Canada.
So Stockwell Day (a.k.a Doris Day)… make my day. I’m not going anywhere.
“The success of Tyrants is determined through their ability to divest the greatest number of people of their personal rights and freedoms with the least amount of protest.” Not on my watch Stephen Harper.