OTTAWA - Manitoba Liberal Party leader Dougald Lamont & MLA for St. Boniface met with Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould Wednesday to ask the Federal Government to enhance the criminal code in order to protect children in the care of CFS from being sexually exploited and to put more offenders behind bars.
Lamont travelled to Ottawa with Manitoba Liberal caucus members Dr. Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights, and Cindy Lamoureux, MLA for Burrows, meeting with Federal Ministers to discuss important issues facing Manitobans.
Protecting children in care from being sexually exploited is critical, as the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth report shows. The report "In Need of Protection: Angel's Story" said there are over 400 sexually exploited children in care in Winnipeg alone, and more across Manitoba.
"This is a horrifying report, and we have asked the Federal Justice Minister and the Federal Government to change the Criminal Code so we can put the people who are preying on children behind bars," said Lamont. "There are laws in place, but they aren't tough enough, especially for vulnerable minors whose lives can be destroyed by these predators."
Manitoba Liberals are asking for changes to section 153 (1) of the Criminal Code, which governs sexual consent. In general, Canada's age of consent is 16, and minors under that age cannot consent to a sex with an adult. Manitoba Liberals are asking that 16- and 17-year-old wards of the state to be considered "vulnerable persons" who cannot consent if there is a power imbalance, if the minor and adult are using drugs or alcohol together, or the state tells the adult the minor cannot consent.
The Manitoba Advocate detailed how common sexual exploitation is in Manitoba:
"...hundreds of children and youth are being sexually exploited across our province. It is a heartbreaking and desperate truth that here in Manitoba, adults actively prey on, demand, and routinely purchase sex with children" (Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth - December 2018 In Need of Protection: Angel's Story Pg. 61)
"The law has to recognize that children in care are vulnerable, and we all have a duty and responsibility to ensure they are better protected," said Lamont. "Now that it is on the radar for the Federal Government, we hope they will move forward with it and that all parties will support it."
Colin Roy Manitoba Liberal Caucus Communications Officer Ph: 204-299-4947 E: firstname.lastname@example.org