Friday, March 07, 2008

New Canadian Age of Consent?

The Conservative Canadian government is preparing to raise its age of consent from 14 to 16. I'm not sure what I think about that. Offhand I would tend to agree that 16 feels more comfortable, although there are plenty of countries which are entirely comfortable with ages of consent of 14 and younger. The Netherlands for example has a universal age of consent of 16, although theirs is conducted with a proviso that sex under 16 is allowed with a close in age exception that reduces the minimum age to 12 if the participants' ages are less than 4 years apart. Such a proviso is actually in place in Canada now and it's not clear whether it would be retained.

Canada's decision does run the risk of disempowering young people, and appears to be a smokescreen for leaving their age of consent for anal sex unchanged at 18. And whilst 16 does instinctively feel more comfortable, the change seems to be driven by Prime Minister Stephen Harper attempting to play to his base, and with no clear arguments yet that the rise to 16 would combat the exploitation of children and young people any better than the current aoc. I guess young people are bearing the brunt for Harper's failure to repeal gay marriage...

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