February – MP Michelle Rempel’s Report

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In December, I introduced a private members bill to define “bestiality” in the Criminal Code. This bill responds to the 2016 R. v. D.L.W. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the acquittal of a British Columbia man who was charged with bestiality after compelling the family dog to sexually abuse his 16-year-old stepdaughter. Lawyers for the man argued that the 1954 bestiality law only included penetration of an animal. The Supreme Court justices agreed, saying it would be inappropriate for courts to expand that definition beyond what was intended by the politicians who drafted the original law.

The Supreme Court has clearly indicated that this is a legal grey area that can only be corrected by legislation. I am disturbed that the government has not yet corrected this glaring void in our criminal code.

I believe this to be a non-partisan issue that is clearly needed to keep both humans and animals safe. The current law is reflective of an archaic understanding of sex, and the change that I am seeking to make with my bill both reflects the language of the Supreme Court ruling, and frankly is a no-brainer.

I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this, or any other, issue. You can contact me by writing Michelle.Rempel@parl.gc.ca or at 115-70 Country Hills Landing N.W., T3K2L2.

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