House of Commons Hansard #72 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sexual.

Topics

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to speak to Bill C-22, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (age of protection) and to make consequential amendments to the Criminal Records Act. It is a very important bill and it is something our government tried to get through during our 13 year tenure as government in the House of Commons. Age of protection is one of the most important issues because it means protecting our young children.

We debate many issues each day in this House and while they are all important, there can be no doubt that when it comes to talking about the protection of Canadian children and youth against sexual exploitation, this debate rises to the top of our priorities. It is quite understandable. We are parliamentarians who also are parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and we share the same concern about safeguarding children against such exploitation.

Bill C-22 is about recognizing that our youth, in particular 14 and 15 year old youth, need and indeed deserve better protection against adult sexual predators.

Youths of this age are experiencing constant and rapid change, including social, physical and cognitive changes. While there is nothing new about this, the environment in which the change is occurring is quite different today than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. The impact of such things as the Internet and what youth see and hear through the media and the entertainment industry today cannot be underestimated. It is in the faces of our youth 24/7.

It is incumbent upon us as parliamentarians to remain vigilant in ensuring that we are doing all we can to safeguard youth against harm or the risk of harm. Police have been asking us to do exactly that for a number of years. For instance, the Canadian Professional Police Association, the national voice for 54,000 police officers across the country, has consistently advocated for increasing the age of consent for youth to have sexual relations with adults from 14 to at least 16 years of age. Many police officers have said that it is absolutely deplorable that in our nation 14 year olds can legally have sex with adults.

That is what we are trying to accomplish with Bill C-22. Bill C-22 is a bill to protect our youth. Bill C-22 proposes to amend the Criminal Code to increase the age of consent from 14 to 16 years. The age of consent, which Bill C-22 proposes to rename as the age of protection, refers to the age at which the criminal law recognizes the capacity of a young person to consent to engage in sexual activity. Any sexual activity with a young person who is younger than the age of consent, irrespective of whether that young person purported to consent to the activity, is prohibited.

Currently the age of protection for sexual activity involving prostitution, pornography or relationships involving authority, trust, dependency or otherwise exploitive use of the young person is 18 years. Bill C-22 would maintain 18 years as the age of protection for these activities but for all other activities or relationships the age of protection is now only 14 years of age.

There is an exception to this. It is what is often called a close in age or peer group exception and it is this: a 12 year old or 13 year old can consent to engage in sexual activity with a partner who is less than two years older and under age 16, as long as the relationship does not involve authority, trust or dependency and is not otherwise exploitative of the young person.

Bill C-22 would maintain this two-year close in age exception for 12 and 13 year olds, but would raise the age of protection from 14 to 16 and would create another close in age exception for 14 and 15 year olds. In this way, Bill C-22 would not criminalize consensual teenage sexual activity, but it would prohibit anyone who is five years or more older than the 14 year old or 15 year old from engaging in any sexual activity with that young person.

I recognize that there may well be different views on whether and when teenagers should be engaging in sexual activity. The fact that Bill C-22 proposes to maintain the existing close in age exemption for 12 and 13 year olds and to create a new one for 14 and 15 year olds should not be interpreted as condoning such activity.

We know intuitively as parents of young children--and health professionals can confirm--that early sexual intercourse can have serious consequences for any young person. For example, Statistics Canada's May 2005 Health Reports, volume 16, number 3, describes these consequences as including longer exposure to the risk of an unwanted pregnancy or of contracting a sexually transmitted infection, and greater difficulty for teenage mothers completing school, with the additional consequence of restricted economic and career opportunities. As for babies born to teenagers, they are at greater risk of premature birth and low birth weight and of dying during their first year of life.

But Bill C-22's proposed close in age exception reflects the reality that teenagers are sexually active and that sexual experimentation among teenagers does occur. In fact, the same Statistics Canada report states, “By age 14 or 15, about 13% of Canadian adolescents have had sexual intercourse”. There are similar percentages for boys and girls, at 12% and 13% respectively.

Bill C-22's proposed close in age exception also reflects the reality of the broad scope of our criminal law's prohibitions against sexual activity below the age of consent. They apply to all sexual activity, ranging from sexual touching to sexual intercourse. So even if only 13% of teens have had sexual intercourse by age 14 or 15, it is quite possible that more have engaged in lesser forms of sexual activity. Bill C-22 is not seeking to criminalize such activity between consenting teenagers.

This is why I support Bill C-22. It directly responds to a gap in our existing Criminal Code protections by criminalizing adult sexual predators of 14 year olds and 15 year olds while at the same time proposing the necessary additional reforms to prevent the criminalization of consensual sexual activity between teenagers.

One of the very real and practical benefits that I see flowing from Bill C-22 is the certainty that it will bring. Currently, and as a result of Criminal Code reforms enacted in the previous Parliament by former Bill C-2 on the protection of children and other vulnerable persons, a court may infer that a relationship with a young person is exploitative of that young person by looking to the nature and circumstances of that relationship, including: first, the age of the young person; second, any difference in age between the young person and the other person involved; third, the evolution of the relationship; and fourth, the degree of control or influence exerted over the young person.

In my view, this approach is inadequate. With it, there is too much uncertainty, uncertainty for the adult, for the young person and for the police and the prosecutors. It might protect some 14 and 15 year olds, but not all, or not all 14 and 15 year olds in the same situations.

Under Bill C-22, there is no such uncertainty. If the adult is five years or more older than the 14 year old or 15 year old, all sexual activity with that young person is prohibited.

Bill C-22 proposes long awaited criminal law reforms to better protect youth against adult sexual predators. I call upon all hon. members to support its swift passage so that our youth do not have to wait any longer for such protection.

Indeed, it has hit home very closely to me as the mother of a police officer who worked in the ICE unit, the Internet child exploitation unit. Time and time again, young people, our most vulnerable citizens, were exposed to sexual predators over the Internet. They were young people who were on the streets and without homes, young people who were left vulnerable to those who had authority over them.

I think that now there is a relatively new crime that is not on the horizon but on our streets. We are addressing it right now in the status of women committee. It is the issue of human trafficking. When we have laws that do not protect our young and our vulnerable, the traffickers are able to coerce our young people into the sex trade industry. In my view, and in the view of the members on this side of the House, that crime is not an industry, and the sex trade, as it called, is not a trade. It is all about intimidation, exploitation, disrespect and criminal activity against very young people in our nation.

Today Bill C-22 has come to the forefront. I implore all members on all sides of the House not to hold up this bill. Last year under the former government, we tried our very best to raise the age of consent. We have answered all possible questions. We know it is common practice in a minority government for members opposite to drag their feet and make a lot of excuses, but I implore all members from all sides of the House to take very careful consideration, through their vote, of raising the age of consent.

I would implore all members on all sides of the House to vote in favour of Bill C-22 and get it through the Senate as quickly as possible. What we are seeing in the Senate now with the federal accountability act and some of our laws that we have put through the Senate is that they are being stopped in the Senate, so we cannot go any further. With much pride, some members opposite have been stating that they are just holding the bills there, looking things up and putting in amendments

The raising of the age of consent has been brought to this House under the former government, which was in government in Canada for approximately 13 years. The age of consent was not raised from 14 to 16 when we tried very hard to have it happen as early as last year. Now I get the sense that all members are ready to pass this bill. I would implore all members to do exactly that, because without it our youth are at risk on a daily basis. Our police officers and everybody are in concert in asking the House of Commons and every member of Parliament to stick up for our young people and raise the age of consent. That is what we have to do.

As for human trafficking, it puts young people who are trafficked from other countries into our country and it puts our own youth at risk in human trafficking. Human trafficking, as members know, is not a choice for young people. Human trafficking occurs when the youth are actually captured. I have known of youth who actually were put in bondage and told that they must participate in sexual activities and pay off debt. Under human trafficking, there are even training camps for youth who refuse to comply. These young people are sent to training camps. A lot of terrible things are done to them to make sure they comply.

Raising the age of consent addresses a lot of issues across our nation, from human trafficking to sexual exploitation, and it puts Canada on alert and on the map as saying that we as a nation refuse to have our young people exploited, we refuse to accept the fact that sexual exploitation is an industry, and we refuse to accept allowing anything happening in that venue in our nation.

Today again I have to say that I hope all members, instead of arguing, debating and bringing up all sorts of different things, will know this bill has tried to address all issues. It tries to ensure that teenagers who are in a consensual sexual activity are not condemned or judged. It just tries to protect our youth against very serious sexual predators. I hope that the House of Commons will stand on Canadian soil today and with one voice say that we are not going to allow sexual predators to use and abuse our young people, whether those young people live at home or are strangers or immigrants from other countries. Our youth are here to be educated and given opportunities, not used and abused. They are here to be respected.

I have heard from many youth who say they know how weak the laws are here in Canada. I would suggest that the age of protection be widely advertised after the bill is passed so that people will know our youth are protected.

Today is a day for very serious consideration. I think that all elected members from all parties, from all sides of the House, are elected to act in an extremely responsible way to protect our young people. I will acknowledge that there has been a great deal of evidence in the House of Commons to show that we definitely have a difference of opinion, but there has been much debate about this over a long period of time. It has gone back and forth. Now it is time to stop going back and forth. It is a time to instruct the people in the House of Commons, the people in the Senate and the law makers of the nation that the highest court is here in the House of Commons.

As the member of Parliament for Kildonan—St. Paul in the House of Commons, as a mother of six children, the mother of a police officer and the former justice critic for the province of Manitoba, I am standing here now and saying that raising the age of consent is mandatory. It is the right thing to do. We have to cross party lines and stop the arguing. We have to bring forth our declaration, in a strong Canadian voice, that raising the age of consent is the right thing to do.

I would ask every member of Parliament before voting to think about their own daughters or their own children or grandchildren. Is the sex industry something that they want their children in? As a member of Parliament, I have to say no, it is not what I want my children in. As members of Parliament, we are the responsible ones who have to stand up and protect all the youth for all of Canada. We cannot have a double standard. It is our responsibility to stand up for Canada and for the young people in our Canada. I ask each and every member to put down their swords, protect the youth and make sure that the political arguments are buried long enough to pass Bill C-22.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, why are the members of her party speaking to this issue today? Clearly, the protection of our children is something that is extremely important.

We introduced Bill C-2 in previous parliaments that looked at enhancing opportunities to ensure our children were protected. Her members are talking about a variety of other issues, as if the rest of us do not care. It is the government that is filibustering its own legislation. We on this side of the House announced last week that we were very supportive of the legislation.

Why do we not just move forward today and pass the legislation rather than filibuster it and delay it? It is my understanding that none of us on this side of the House have any objections to it, and we indicated that.

Let us just get on with supporting the legislation and move on to the other issues on the agenda.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is great to hear that comment. I agree, we need to move forward.

In answer to the question, past history has caused us to be tentative and very careful to ensure that we are very clear on what we want on this side of the House. Last year this side of the House was voted down on raising the age of consent.

However, I am glad to hear that all questions have been answered and that members on the Liberal side are willing to support and pass Bill C-22.

When all bills get to the Senate, I hope the message to the Liberal Senate is that it too should not hold up legislation, as has been happening in Senate, and that it would put the legislation through so we could get on with the business of raising the age of consent.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I was going to try to address the need for the change in the age of consent. However, we had a situation in Saskatchewan a few years ago, and I think most members would recall it, where three individuals in their twenties picked up a 12 year old first nations girl, had her consume a fair amount of liquor and, from what I can gather, sexually exploited that young girl. It was quite a controversial case. Through the appeal system, eventually all three were found guilty.

However, I want to point out what happened at the trial of two of these individuals. They had a very good defence lawyer. I know members opposite sometimes take their advice from defence counsel and defence lawyers in designing the laws of the country, and sometimes that is an error. The defence lawyer at a jury trial made a very compelling argument to the jury that the girl looked like she might be over 14 years of age, although she really was 12 years of age. All one has to do is raise a reasonable doubt to get an acquittal in our criminal court system.

Therefore, that is a fairly major loophole in the law. I think any fair-minded person in the House should understand, as parliamentarians of all parties, that we should not create laws that allow that sort of loophole to be exploited by defence attorneys in a criminal court system. Let us take that away from them.

Could the member enlighten us as to why we need to increase the age of consent from 14 to 16? I think I have given every member in the House of Commons one good reason to support the bill, without any doubt, unless they are taking their cues from defence lawyers. Young people in our country need protection and the way the law is right now it is not very good protection.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. I am the mother of a police officer and I hear over and over again how the criminals get out faster than the time it takes to do the paperwork to put them in.

As one voice, the House of Commons is the highest court in the land. As one voice, there can be no arguments across party lines. We have to stand as one voice and raise the age of consent from 14 to 16. We must be very clear on it. We have to get the message out that there will be questions when anything goes awry. No one should be get off on the fact that the person thought the girl was 14. For me, 14 is too young anyway.

Any age is too young for a young girl to be exploited. Even if the girls were 18 or 23, why give them liquor and exploit them? It is a criminal offence. This is not something that should be debated. This debate should not be restricted in the House of Commons today. These are the hard questions we need to ask because we all know what happens.

We cannot allow the exploitation of young people to happen any longer. We have to stand up and ignore the people who stand in corners and whisper “I don't like to hear this” or “I don't like to hear that”. All members of Parliament are standing up and saying, like the member on this side of the House said, that this happens in our courts of law and that we do not want it to happen.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I listened with pleasure to the speech of my colleague. It reminded me of a constituent who has won the nomination and will seek a seat in the provincial legislature. This constituent worked for many years as a police officer with the Saskatoon police force.

When I had a conversation with her, she told me that she highly endorsed raising the age of protection. She told me that frequently what happens is a person builds a relationship with a 14 year old girl and pretends to care about her and love her, et cetera. Then the person uses that relationship and requires the 14 year to earn money, thereby allowing the 14 year old to be sexually exploited. This is what the current police officer, hopefully soon to be an MLA in our provincial legislature, has told me.

Would the hon. member comment on this since she has a family member who serves on the police and deals with similar situations? It seems to me quite a horrible thing for someone to turn a relationship of trust into pure deception and sexual exploitation. I understand why moving the age of consent from 14 to 16 would protect people in such situations.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is a very compelling story, one which we hear over and over again. The problem is whether we sit in meetings or we hear different people talk, there is always the connotation that it is okay to do this. Exploiting young people is not okay. Exploiting old people is not okay. Exploiting anyone is not okay.

Bill C-22 speaks specifically to the sexual exploitation of our youth. I have talked with police officers who are very well educated and supposedly very powerful people. They have made the comment that these young people live on the street, that they do not live at home, or that they do not want to hear this any more or that they do not want to hear our arguments.

What is happening today with Bill C-22 is we are standing in Parliament and we are very clearly saying, as parliamentarians that there will be no more sexual exploitation of young children. We are saying that we will stand in our courts of law and protect our children. That is a very honourable thing to do.

When we hear these stories about people doing these things to young people, it comes from a lack of honour. It is a lack of integrity. It is a lack of commitment to the Canadian value. Our country was built on a foundation of Canadian values. Those values are that people can live, breathe and be free in a country where they can grow, get jobs, become educated and grow their families. Canadian values are all about that. In Canada the vulnerable will be protected because we respect the vulnerable.

When my hon. colleague speaks about the things that happen to young people, we as parliamentarians have the authority and the ability to stop it today.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to the bill. Before I get into some of my detailed comments, I want to say something about the general nature of this debate.

First, the Prime Minister took the opposition to task and said that it was causing a delay on this bill. We should be very clear and put it on the record, as our justice critic, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, did earlier, that the government tabled this bill back in June of this year, but it was only called for debate today. Therefore, the accusation and allegation that somehow the opposition is holding up the bill is absolutely ludicrous. This is the first day the government has called this important bill for debate.

My second point is a Liberal member rose to ask why we did not get on with passing the bill and stop the filibustering. What filibustering? We just started debating this bill a couple of hours ago. I know the Liberals put forward a proposal, with a number of other bills, to approve the bill on raising the age of consent with no debate or vote. Instead, we would have an omnibus motion and pass it. Maybe that is acceptable to some people, but I beg to differ and protest.

The reason we come to this place is because we are legislators. We come here to debate public policy. The more contentious and far-reaching that public policy is, the more we have a responsibility to engage in genuine debate and to hear from Canadians who have different points of view.

I also take issue with the Liberals who are somehow trying to claim there is filibustering going on. They want the bill to pass with no discussion, no debate and no vote. That is wrong. We should be debating this because it is a very important bill. There are a number of very important questions raised in the bill that Canadians want to hear about and provide input.

There seems to be a lot of political posturing taking place. In fact, I notice there is a very careful characterization that this is not a bill about the age of consent, but is now a bill about the protection of children, which is a different characterization from how it was originally put forward. Clearly what we are debating is the Criminal Code, whether it is a good idea to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 and what would the consequences be if we do that.

Earlier today our justice critic, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, spoke to the bill. He laid out some of the concerns the NDP caucus, as well as the fact that if it went to committee, the NDP would seek amendments.

I want to address my remarks and bring forward another side of the debate, which is whether we are willing to hear from young people about their sexual activity, what is consensual and what is not. I am very concerned with the attitude of the government, which is so paternalistic, that young people will be shut out of this debate. If the bill goes to committee, it is incredibly important that we hear from them because we know sexual activity takes place. The average age of 14.1 years for girls and it is slightly different for boys.

I should point out, Mr. Speaker, that I will be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg North.

We know sexual activity takes place and it is very important that we hear the views of young people and what they think we should do. The point I want to make is this is now being presented as a bill for protection for children, but there already are protections in the Criminal Code, which ensure that exploitation, coercion and violence against young people do not take place.

The critical thing here is that we must differentiate between what is harmful, exploitative, violent and coercive against what is actually consenting activity. As Osgoode law professor Alan Young has said, this bill can be looked as an example of the sort of symbolic politics that take place where legislation is proposed in order to make people feel good about something. We have seen this now on a number of occasions with bills on crime from the government, but they do not necessarily accomplish any change in terms of what will take place. This bill may have a negative impact.

The Canadian AIDS Society said in its position statement:

[We are] concerned that increasing the age of consent could result in young people being more secretive about their sexual practices and not seeking out the information they need.

It also stated that:

The Criminal Code of Canada already protects people under the age of 18 from sexual relationships that happen under circumstances of exploitation, pornography, prostitution or in relationships of trust, authority or dependency.

Let us be very clear. These protections already exist within our Criminal Code. Again I come back to the need for us to be incredibly cautious in hearing from young people about what they believe the impact of this bill would be on their lives and on the realities they face.

The Canadian AIDS Society believes that the Canadian government should be focusing on promoting consistent and comprehensive HIV-AIDS information in sexual health education across Canada. It said that the best way to protect and support youth is to ensure that education and services are available to inform them about their rights and options, and the risks and benefits of engaging in sexual activity. Educating youth to make informed choices that are right for them is better addressed through parental guidance and comprehensive sexual health education than by using the Criminal Code.

We have a similar position being put forward by the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health. It said that there was no evidence that increased restriction on individual rights would increase protection of youth from sexual exploitation or provide any other benefits sufficient to justify the intrusion into personal privacy and consensual activity. Rather, the prospect of legal sanction and third party disclosure could seriously discourage youth from assessing preventative and therapeutic health services and other forms of information and assistance. My colleague brought up this point earlier today.

We will be seeking amendments to this bill in committee in terms of the differentiation that now exists in the Criminal Code around anal intercourse as opposed to other sexual activities that we think are discriminatory. That should be changed. We need to ensure as well that there is protection for young people when they need to report sexually transmitted diseases.

I want to put on the record that this is an important debate. I have a lot of reservations about this bill and I do not support it in principle. I do think it is important for witnesses to be heard, particularly young people because we need to hear their point of view. We need to be realistic in what we do. We would be willing to look at the provisions that actually exist now in the Criminal Code and focus the debate on whether or not those provisions are inadequate. We need to focus on what to do to ensure there is no exploitation, coercion or violence against young people because those protections are already in the Criminal Code.

I look forward to that debate. I hope it is a genuine debate and not just about political posturing. Canadians want us to honestly and frankly discuss this issue. Maybe at some point there will be a consensus. It is important that all points of view be heard.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member with great interest. Quite frankly, I thought she started off well but then kind of drifted off toward the end.

This bill is about protecting our children. I do not want children telling me whether or not they feel they should be protected. As adults and as legislators we have an obligation to protect them under the Criminal Code. I have travelled a fair portion of this country, including British Columbia where the member is from, and I know Canadians want their children to be protected. They do not care if their children do not feel they should be protected.

I would like to know if the member thinks it is all right for middle aged men or middle aged women to target children 14 and 15 years old for sexual relationships on the basis of consent? I do not care if children 14 and 15 years old consent to it. It should not be a defence in Canadian courts. I would like to know if the hon. member thinks that is a suitable defence for an adult to use in court?

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the question the member has raised is why we need to have this debate. Frankly, I am really surprised to hear the comment that he does not think that we should be hearing from young people, that somehow they do not have a point of view, that they do not have well-informed opinions, that sexual activity does not take place, and that somehow only those of a certain age are in a position to make a decision or a determination about what is consensual or not. I do not agree with that.

I think that young people should be engaged in this debate and we should be listening to them about what actually takes place. If we are here to sort of bury our heads in the sand and say that sexual activity either between young people or with some years in difference does not take place, and some of that activity is consenting, then I think we are fooling ourselves.

I will be the first one here to say that of course there are appalling and horrible situations of violence, coercion and exploitation. We see that in prostitution and the sex industry. That is why we have laws to ensure that does not take place. That is why it is important to have those protections to ensure that young people are not exploited.

However, this is a question that involves sexual activity of young people that is consenting and I think for anybody to deny that is just fooling themselves.

I realize there are different points of view and I realize there are very strongly held views, but my bottom line is that we have to hear from young people. We have to hear what they have to say. To somehow characterize that they do not know what they are talking about or there are not informed opinions out there, I think is very paternalistic and very condescending. We will, in the end, create harms in terms of the way young people view sexuality, their ability to come forward and talk about their sexuality, to get help when they need it, and not to be driven underground. Those are the concerns that I have. I believe that they are very legitimate. I believe that they need to be heard.

I realize that there are other members who will try and shut down the debate on sort of very moral grounds that they have. That is fine. They have a right to do that. However, I want to ensure that all these points of view are heard.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The hon. member for West Nova. There is one minute for both the question and the answer.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will be supporting this bill. I had reservations during the first debate, which was some time ago, but the close in age exception has made a difference for me. I agree with what the member said regarding the fact that debate is not a bad thing and there are probably some witnesses who should be heard. However, whether the individual is 14, 15 or 16 years old, could the member possibly see where it would be okay for a 40-year-old adult, even if not in a position of influence, to be in a relationship with somebody at the age of 14, 15 or 16? Could the member see such a possibility?

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

There is 20 seconds to reply to that question.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not personally see that possibility. However, we are talking about near in age here and what that cutoff should be. That is where the debate needs to centre. We can always put forward extremes and take the debate there. What we need to do is hear from young people--

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Order, please.

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Labrador, Aboriginal Affairs.