Submitted by megan on Thu, 11/08/2007 - 20:21
I nearly blew a gasket listening to CBC radio last night. So near was my brain to splatting out my ears in rage, in fact, that I'm not sure I'll even be able to write about this and make any sense.
Part of the problem is that it's about the Conservatives bid to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16. It's a complicated law, before and after the proposed changes. Simply, under the new law, teenagers would still be able to have sex with each other, but if someone were sixteen and were having sex with an adult (defined as someone in a position of power or more than 5 years older), that adult could be arrested.
The age of consent for anal sex would still stand at 18, no matter your sex or orientation.
On the radio last night, Poilievre* was all over how raising the age of consent to 16 was going to prevent Internet predators. He said this ad nauseum. Like if he said it just a touch more ardently each time, we would all understand just how true it was.
"Adrian!" I yelled at the radio. "Ask him exactly how the fuck is it gonna do that?"
And also: "All Canadians agree with this law." Bullshit. This proposed change has been hotly contested amongst the sexual health advocates I know. And I mean contested, heated argument from both sides. I've been back and forth on it myself, because, damn, it's hard to argue against protecting youth from sexual predation. But in the end, no, I don't agree with raising the age of consent.
That does not mean, however, Mr. Pierre "Think of the Children!" Poilievre, that I do agree with predation of youth via the Internet. I just don't think this law is going to prevent what you say it is going to prevent. So why meddle with laws around sexuality?
That the conservatives want to do this makes me viscerally uneasy.
And also: "This will engage youth in the democratic process." Wha? Offering youth money to forage for names to put on a petition and write a 500 word essay about something they may or may not believe in, but serves your purpose neatly, is going to stimulate interest in the democratic process?
It has somehow escaped him that the more democratic action might be asking students to read the law, develop a position, distill that position into 500 clear words, write a petition outlining their position, find supporters, and present it to government in order to have their voice heard and sway some parliamentary machinations.
*And a big thank you to Duff, who pointed out that Pierre Pettigrew is a former cabinet minister with nice hair and that Pierre Poilievre is the local MP eager to bribe teenagers into making his case for him.