Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: PM Starts Walking the Walk on Feminism

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: PM Starts Walking the Walk on Feminism

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: PM starts walking the walk on feminism

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published March 21:

Canada's self-proclaimed feminist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is starting to walk the walk. On Wednesday, he will take another step in his commitment to equality with a federal budget that was submitted to a gender-based analysis. It's the first time this has happened and it's long overdue. Gender-based analysis is a critical but underused policy-making tool; it looks at how policy might affect men and women differently. That's cause for cautious optimism.

This follows another move to drag the Canadian Criminal Code into 2017. On International Women's Day, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced legislation to remove seven out-of-date, so-called "zombie" laws in the Criminal Code. Zombie laws are old laws that remain on the books despite being rendered meaningless.

The timing of her announcement was no accident. One of those zombie laws concerns abortion, or, as the Criminal Code clumsily puts it, "procuring the miscarriage of a female person."

Yes, that's correct: the law prohibiting abortion that was struck down as unconstitutional in the landmark Morgentaler decision in 1988 remains on the books.

The most recent push to clean up Canada's Criminal Code was sparked by a cautionary tale out of Alberta. In convicting Travis Vader of second-degree murder, a judge relied on a legal definition that, despite being declared unconstitutional in 1990, remained part of the Criminal Code. The judge later admitted he had erred and changed the conviction to counts of manslaughter.

No one has been convicted of "procuring miscarriage of a female person" in the past 29 years. But the formal and long overdue removal of the antiquated language in the Criminal Code, along with a pledge to spend $650 million over three years on sexual and reproductive rights and health worldwide -- also announced on International Women's Day -- suggest that perhaps Mr. …

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