MP Craig Scott introduces a Bill a to Repeal the Criminal Code Provision that Discriminates Against Gay Youth

Today in the House of Commons, Craig introduced Bill C-448, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (consent).

Mr. Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth, NDP):  Mr. Speaker, I rise with pride to introduce this private member’s bill, and I thank the hon. member for Vancouver East for seconding. I would note that the hon. member is the health critic, which is actually very relevant to this motion to introduce the bill.

The bill would repeal the an outdated provision of the Criminal Code that unconstitutionally discriminates against members of the LGBTQ community. Essentially the goal is to repeal section 159 of the Criminal Code, which discriminates against the gay community with regard to sexual activity and the age of consent.

As far back as 1995 with the Ontario Court of Appeal and 1998 with the Quebec Court of Appeal this provision had been deemed unconstitutional. This is essentially a constitutional cleanup, something that should have happened under successive Liberal and Conservative governments. It has not happened. It is the fourth time that an NDP member has risen to table a bill to repeal this provision.

I would like to end by reading a short quote from Jeremy Dias of Jer’s Vision who says:

“During the senate debate of Bill C-22, JersVision.org requested equalization of ages of consent for gay sex. The current legislation creates a double standard for gay youth, not only discriminating, but also leading to other challenges. One we are seeing is that safer gay sex is not talked about in school. The existing legislation is not reflective or effective of the realities of youth, and Mr. Scott’s bill is urgently needed to empower youth, and support them in making healthier and safer decisions in their lives.”