Redeemer University - Christian university changes everything. Starting with you.          
Skip Navigation Links
Seeking God?

Visit this room for up-to-date news, commentary and discussion

The Age of Protection, Anal Sex and Parliamentary Debate

With anal intercourse now on the parliamentary agenda, it has become a subject of public debate that must be addressed.

Two events occurred in the House of Commons during the first week of May 2007 that take diametrically opposed positions on the issue of protecting Canadian children.

All parties were prepared to consider an increase to 16, which unanimous passing of Bill C-22 demonstrated …

Bill C-22 (Age of Protection) received final passage in the House of Commons and was referred to the Senate for consideration. This legislation proposes to increase the age for consent to sexual activity with an adult from 14 to 16 years. C-22 is referred to as the Age of Protection Bill because its primary focus is protecting Canadian children from sexual predators.

Within the same 24 hour period of this legislation passing, a new Private Members' Bill (Bill C-438) was introduced which proposes repealing section 159 of the Criminal Code—the section which makes it illegal to engage in anal intercourse (AI) with someone under the age of 18 years. The intent being that the legal age for engaging in AI with an adult would be the same as that for engaging in vaginal intercourse (VI), 14 at this time and 16 if C-22 becomes law.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) appeared as a witness before Parliament's Justice and Human Rights Committee in support of Bill C-22. The EFC would have preferred that Parliament raise the age of protection to 18, believing this is an adult decision for an adult experience. However, that option was not available at this time. All parties were prepared to consider an increase to 16, which unanimous passing of Bill C-22 demonstrated, but a request to move to 18 would likely have been defeated.

The EFC had representatives attend each of the several days of hearings on C-22. Police witnesses testified that Canada has become a pedophile tourist destination because of its low age of consent. One officer stated police could catch a pedophile with every line they used to fish with if the age of consent in Canada was the same as our southern neighbours, 16. But until C-22 becomes law, 14 and 15 years olds are being victimized by more savvy adults, from within and outside Canada, who begin grooming children over the internet while they are still 12 and 13.

Grooming consists of manipulating the child's combination of developing emotions, hormonal changes and their lack of knowledge and lack of maturity to properly assess the risks associated with the behaviour the adult predator is seeking from them.

During the hearings it was evident that some MPs had an agenda other than the "extended protection" focus of the Bill. NDP and Bloc members and a Liberal member of the Justice Committee asked first the Minister of Justice and subsequently several more witnesses to speak to the issue of the higher age of consent required for AI. These committee members made strong statements advocating that the age of consent for AI be lowered from 18 to the same as that for VI, stating their opinion that the difference was discriminatory against the gay community.

The Chair of the committee (supported by Conservative and Liberal members—in a minority parliament the governing party also has a minority in committee representation) ultimately ruled this line of questioning inappropriate because the proposed legislation dealt only with a limited number of the Criminal Code's provisions pertaining to illegal sexual activity but did not deal with section 159 and, accordingly, section 159 was not up for discussion.

Failing to amend C-22, the pro-AI MPs took another course of action. Justice Committee member MP Joe Comartin introduced Bill C-438. Mr. Comartin's motion noted the purpose of the legislation being to delete section 159. In presenting the Bill to the House, he made no reference to the content of the section other than alluding to the fact that the Ontario Court of Appeal had in two separate 1995 cases ruled section 159 to be in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms equality provisions as discriminatory on the basis of "sexual orientation."

With the question of AI having now been put on the parliamentary agenda, it is a subject of public debate which requires the issue be addressed.

Apart from belief based on "ancient sacred texts," as a decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal referred to the Bible in another matter, of what significance is the difference between age of consent to VI and the age of consent to AI?

This is not, as the pro-AI MPs described it, a matter of "gay sex" as opposed to "straight sex." This is a matter of protection for vulnerable adolescent youth. Adult males who harbour a desire for pre-pubescent youth (pedophiles) or pubescent youth (ephebophiles) are often interested in VI and AI with young girls and/or AI with young boys. The vulnerability of these youth to being exploited by sexual predators creates a variety of emotional and medical risk factors for those who become sexually active in the manner for which such predators groom them.

Adolescent youth struggle with issues of sexuality. During this period in life youth are extremely vulnerable to arriving at one conclusion or the other about their sexual preferences if experimentation takes place with an adult of either gender.

Additionally, there are significantly higher medical risk factors involved for those who engage in AI. These risks—such as five times higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases and increased risk of a variety of colo-rectal problems, including cancer—are described in numerous medical study reports and articles.

Proponents of Bill C-438 are missing the point that section 159 of the Criminal Code does not differentiate unequally between homosexuals and heterosexuals; it protects children against predators pursuing an extremely high risk sexual behaviour. Parliament is not being asked to assess an issue of equality for the gay community but to assess unequal risks in determining our government's commitment to the legal protection of our children. C-22 extends greater protection for Canadian children against sexual predators. C-438 would only extend the risk of harm. If a common age is to be chosen, let it be 18.

Don Hutchinson is General Legal Counsel for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.




  • Redeemer University - Christian university changes everything. Starting with you.

Visit our Marketplace

Support the EFC ministry by using our Amazon links