Four Canadian women, three lawyers and a criminologist, published a 210-page report entitled A Feminist Review of Criminal Law. The report was commissioned and paid for by the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, an agency fully-funded by the federal government.
Walter McLean, Minister for the Status of Women, said the report was written to “arouse public sensitivity.” This it certainly did. For example, one of the authors, Christine Boyle, law professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, explained that abortion laws should be dropped because only women can be charged with having abortions. (Hence, unequal treatment!) She claimed that this ‘legal’ opinion was based on the Charter of Rights.
On prostitution, the report says, soliciting should not be a criminal offence. Murder sentences should only be a short prison term followed by time spent in residential centres. Discrimination in prisons should be eliminated.
The report claims that 80 per cent of charges laid against women are non-criminal because they neither cause serious harm nor violate fundamental values. Many problems stem from the application to women of laws, it says, “devised by male legislators for…controlling anti-social acts largely committed by men…”
The authors, in addition to Boyle, are Marie-André Bertrand, a criminology professor at the University of Montreal; Celine Lacerte-Montagne, Montreal criminal lawyer, and Rebecca Shamai, Toronto criminal lawyer.