Immigration Minister Chris Alexander

Criminalizing ‘barbaric’ acts law welcomed

  • November 20, 2014

OTTAWA - Canada’s Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act has found support among Catholic pro-family groups. 

The Act, introduced by Conservative Senator Claude Carignan Nov. 5, would close various loopholes in the Criminal Code and other legislation regarding honour killings, polygamy and forced marriages, practices that are common in some cultures around the world. 

“The Barbaric Cultural Practices Act identifies practices which are indeed barbaric,” said Catholic Civil Rights League executive director Christian Elia. “It’s the correct term for such acts.” 

Sometimes offensive practices are “cast aside as being issues related to culture or religion, which is unacceptable in Canada,” he said. 

REAL Women national vice president Gwen Landolt called the proposed legislation “long overdue.” 

“It’s really about protecting women: legislation to protect women from the indignities caused to them,” she said. “It’s excellent to see these changes.” 

Landolt agreed “barbaric” is a “good term” to describe honour killings, polygamy and child marriage. 

“People coming to Canada must conform to our values; they have to put aside their past understanding of women... If you come here, we treat women the same,” she said, stressing equality. “(Women) have as much rights as men.” 

The Act would amend the Criminal Code to make knowingly solemnizing a forced marriage or one involving a person under 16 to be punishable by up to two years in prison. It would also make it an offence for family members or others to participate in a forced marriage ceremony, punishable by up to five years in prison. A similar punishment will apply to a new offence of participating in a marriage of someone under 16 or for removing a child from Canada for a forced and/or underage marriage. 

The Act would also change the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by making temporary and permanent residents inadmissible for simply practising polygamy without need for a criminal conviction. The Act will also amend the Civil Marriage Act to require free and enlightened consent and add a requirement to end an existing marriage before entering another. 

It has the support of the Tory cabinet. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said in a Nov. 5 statement the Conservatives stance on these controversial issues has “upset some people.” 

“Our stance is clear: women and girls in Canada deserve the full protection of the Canadian law,” Alexander said. 

Alexander said that in order to protect the rights and privileges Canadians enjoy, “we must be sure that everyone coming to our country is aware that harmful and violent cultural practices found elsewhere in the world will not be tolerated in Canada.” 

The Canadian government will also make sure girls are not removed from Canada for forced marriages outside the country. 

“We will also make it clear that those who engage in polygamy will find themselves subject to removal from Canada,” he said. “Like early and forced marriages, this practice has no place in Canada.” 

Alexander also took aim against honour killings. 

“We are removing loopholes that have allowed these criminals to reduce their sentence,” he said. “Those found guilty must face the full strength of the Canadian judicial system.” 

Comments (1)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Winston Blackmore in bountiful B.C. claims 25 or more spiritual wives. He has testified under oath in the U.S. that he has married minors and has no fear of the Canadian government. look up Daphne Branham and Winston. Youtube has polyg videos.

Louise Michelle
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