Members of Parliament will face a contentious decision when they return to the House of Commons next week to vote on whether to raise the age of consensual sex between adults and youth to 16 from 14.I guess the argument by the other guys goes that the existing law banning exploitation (defined as breaching trust, involving prostitution, or involving pornography) is strong enough to protect minors from unwanted attention. In addition, they want to ensure that teens who are sexually active in and around the same age group, aren't subjected to being branded a criminal.
Although the Liberals, Bloc Québécois and NDP are all on record as opposing the Conservative motion, Tory justice critic Vic Toews said he hopes several MPs will break ranks with party lines.
I have no problem raising the age of consent. I cannot fathom why an adult of any age would consider entering a "consensual" relationship with a 14-year old. That being said, I'm also not so naive enough that raising the age of consent is somehow going to eliminate the teenaged "love" going on.
What about a rolling age of consent, which I thought was the law at some point.
- The age of consent remains 14.
- The maximum age of the older partner is the younger partner's age plus 4 years. So, maximum pairings would be 18/14, 19/15, 20/16, 21/17, and if the older partner is 22 or over, check that driver's license.
This removes concerns that kids in the same age group aren't being charged with statutory rape, needlessly, but at the same time says that if you're over a certain age - smarten up.
That being said:
Even if, as expected, the Tories lose the vote next Wednesday, Mr. Toews said his party will keep the issue alive in any coming federal election campaign.
I'd be interested in hearing the other side on this issue.
Is it really an issue to drive an election on? Are the laws against exploitation strong enough?
Updated: Interesting points over at Craig Cantin's site, regarding this very issue [Craig Cantin, Raising the Age of Consent - Green Party Position]. Let me say again, I don't want youth justice cases being filled up with 17 year old boys getting arrested for making out with a 15 year old girl. If the motion is just to make the age of consent 16, then count me AGAINST it.