Monday, April 24, 2006

The NDP and the Age of Consent

I don't spend a lot of time talking about the NDP, mostly because I find them more or less irrelevant. However, they've been making a few moves lately that I find very disturbing.

For instance, during the election campaign, Jack Layton came out in favour of a "get tough" policy on crime. Now, Jack's a smart guy, well versed in leftism, and thus really has no excuse for not knowing that "get tough" approaches do not work. They do succeed in putting more people in jail, but time after time this method has failed at actually reducing crime rates. It happens all the time in the US - they enact tougher and tougher penalties, but the crime rate stays the same; states with the death penalty have higher murder rates than states without. So it was equal parts disheartening and sickening for me to see him basically mirror the Conservative crime policy - that is, lock 'em up and throw away the key, no exceptions, and it smacked of Hilary-esque pandering to people who won't vote NDP anyway.

Expelling Buzz Hargrove was, institutionally, quite revealing, and it showed what the NDP really thinks of free speech.

And today, I read a National Post article that the NDP may help the Conservatives pass the age of consent increase, and in particularly Orwellian fashion, change the language, so that it becomes the "age of protection." One assumes that Vic Toews (anti-fun prude that he is) thinks that a consenting 15 year old needs "protection" from an 18 or 19 year old boyfriend/girlfriend.

Age gaps of about that size are actually fairly common; I'd bet everybody knows or knows of somebody who's been involved in a sexual relationship of that type. The new "age of protection" law would include a "close-in-age" exemption, but I somehow doubt the exemption would go as high as that. This means that someone could be forced to become a registered sex offender if they engage in a consensual sexual relationship with a younger partner.

This is particularly timely given the multiple murders of two registered "sex offenders," murdered because they were on that list. One of those on the list was definitely justifiably on there, convicted of rape of a child. But the other was on there because, when he was 19, he had (consensual) sex with his girlfriend, who was just shy of 16. That is enough to get someone on a list with child molesters and rapists. Is this really what we want for Canada? Can we not protect people from sexual exploitation and molestation without putting innocent people in jail for having consensual sex?

Apparently it's what the NDP wants. What the hell are they thinking?


At 4/24/2006 9:11 p.m., Blogger FurGaia said...

That does not surprise me. I read recently that there is a strong right-wing clique in the NDP, and the example given was the Saskatchewan caucus. Then I was quite startled to read the following:

"What is the future for the NDP in Saskatchewan? People today are generally very disappointed with the Calvert NDP government. Many political commentators say that the best thing they have going for them is the Saskatchewan Party with its even more right wing policies and commitment to social conservatism. If the major opposition party were the Liberals, the NDP would be quickly tossed out of office. The unpopularity of the NDP in general was reflected in the 2004 federal election, where the NDP did not win a single seat in Saskatchewan. They received less than 100,000 votes, only 24% of the total, and finished third behind the Conservatives and the Liberals." [Source]

At 4/25/2006 1:43 p.m., Blogger Mike said...

As an NDP member, let me assure you, I do not support this.

We have adequete laws already in place to protect kids - this is just a gift to the socons.

I will not be happy if they do this.

At 4/25/2006 2:06 p.m., Anonymous Manitoba Liberal said...

I have no problem with a 19 year old being charged for having sex with a 14 year old. I think as long as the law makes sensible "close in age" requirment I hope it does get passed.


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