OTTAWA, March 5, 2008 ( – Canada’s new age of sexual consent, raised to 16 from 14, was signed into law on Feb. 28 after passing in the Senate by a narrow 3 votes.

As reported last December by, the Conservative Government’s Bill C-2, the ‘Tackling Violent Crime Act’, passed the House of Commons on November 28, 2007. This bill included a provision to raise the age of consent for sexual activity from 14 to 16. At 14, Canada’s age of consent was among the lowest of Western nations, where it typically varies between 16 and 18.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had threatened to call an election if Bill C-2 wasn’t passed in the Senate by March 1, 2008. Even though the Liberal dominated senate complained there was not enough time to meet this deadline, the possibility of giving Harper an opportunity to launch an election over the issue pushed them into action.

Nineteen senators voted for the bill, sixteen voted against, while thirty-one senators – all Liberals but one – abstained from the vote, and another twenty-seven didn’t show up at all…

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