“There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation” ~ Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 (S.C. 1968-69, c. 38) was an omnibus bill that introduced major changes to the Criminal Code of Canada. It was introduced as Bill C-150 by then Minister of Justice Pierre Trudeau in the second session of the 27th Canadian Parliament on December 21, 1967. On May 14, 1969, after heated debates, Omnibus Bill C-150 passed third reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 149 (119 Liberals, 18 New Democrats, 12 Progressive Conservatives) to 55 (43 Progressive Conservatives, 11 Créditistes, 1 Liberal). The bill was a massive 126-page, 120-clause amendment to the criminal law of Canada.
It proposed, among other things, to decriminalize homosexuality, allow abortion and contraception, and regulate lotteries, gun possession, drinking and driving offences, harassing phone calls, misleading advertising and cruelty to animals. The bill was described by John Turner, Trudeau’s successor as Minister of Justice, as “the most important and all-embracing reform of the criminal and penal law ever attempted at one time in this country”. Trudeau famously defended the bill by telling reporters that “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation”, adding that “what’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code”. The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 is known in French under the title Loi de 1968-69 modifiant le droit pénal.
The climate for legislative change in Canada with regard to homosexuality was influenced in the late 1960s by the British Parliament’s adoption of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which decriminalized homosexual acts in England and Wales. Another important factor was the prosecution of George Klippert and the dismissal of his appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. This led to intense media and political interest, which influenced Trudeau’s decision to include amendments to the Criminal Code concerning homosexuality in Bill C-150. Although the bill contained many other controversial proposals, it was the decriminalization of homosexuality that raised the most objections from Members of Parliament.
Opposition to homosexuality was so intense that the Catholic Créditistes of Quebec held up debate for three weeks. The Créditistes suggested that communism, socialism and atheism were behind the proposed changes relating to homosexuality and abortion [sound familiar?]; they demanded that a public referendum be held on these issues and staged a filibuster of Parliament over the amendments concerning abortion. An anti-gay smear campaign was directed against Pierre Trudeau (who was labelled a “beast of Sodom”) and the Liberal Party in the weeks leading up to the Canadian federal election of 1968.
The bill was a massive 126-page document, and was considered the largest omnibus bill every passed in Commons history. However, it is interesting to note that the budget bill just introduced by the Harper government is 300 pages in length.
[Source: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_Law_Amendment_Act,_1968-69]
My list of of interesting books about Canada (to date).
- Sam Steele: The Wild Adventures of Canada’s Most Famous Mountie, by Holly Quan
- Real Justice: Guilty of Being Weird: The story of Guy Paul Morin, by Cynthia J. Faryon
- The Dieppe Raid: The Story of the Disastrous 1942 Expedition (Twentieth-Century Battles), by Robin Neillands
- To Wawa With Love, by Tom Douglas
- Wild Canadian West, by E.C. (Ted) Meyers
- Tecumseh: Diplomat and Warrior in the War of 1812, by Irene Gordon
- Klondike Cattle Drive – Norman Lee
- Blazing the Old Cattle Trail, by Grant MacEwan
- Secrets of Lake Simcoe: Fascinating Stories From Ontario’s Past, by Andrew Hind & Maria Da Silva
- Amazing stories of WWI, WWII, and the Canadian Navy
- Grass Beyond the Mountains: Discovering the Last Great Cattle Frontier on the North American Continent, by Richmond P. Hobson, Jr.
- Jimmy Simpson: Legend of the Rockies, by E.J. Hart
- Two Irish Lads, by Gerry Burnie
- Men in Eden: William Drummond Stewart and Same-Sex Desire in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade, by William Benemann
- Northern Lights, by James Matthew Green
- To Every Thing There Is a Season: A Cape Breton Christmas Story, by Alistair MacLeod
- Christmas in Ontario: Heartwarming Legends, Tales, and Traditions, by Cheryl MacDonald
- Cold North Killers: Canadian Serial Murder by Lee Mellor
- The Canadian Rockies: Pioneers, Legends and True Tales by Roger W. Patillo
- Convoys of World War II: Dangerous Missions on the North Atlantic, by Dorothy Pederson.
- Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock, Mark Tewksbury
- Valour At Vimy Ridge: Canadian Heroes of World War I, by Tom Douglas
- True-life Adventures of Canadian Bush Pilots, by Bill Zuk
- Billy Bishop: Top Canadian Flying Ace, by Dan McCaffery
- A Scattering of Seeds, “First Lady of the Yukon: Martha black