Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, the government’s anti-prostitution bill that outlaws the buying of sex rather than focus on the selling of sexual services, passed the Senate and awaits approval from the Supreme Court of Canada. The bill passed “on division” meaning senators agreed that the majority of the Senate supported it, although there was no individual vote and the support was not unanimous. The Conservative majority voted down an amendment that would have removed any criminal penalties for individuals engaged in prostitution. Conservative Senator Denise Batters said the bill will, “significantly decrease and ultimately work towards the abolition of the demand for sexual services” … Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Ottawa would give $10 million to organizations such as Girls Not Brides working against early and forced marriages in the developing world. Sandeep Prasad, executive director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, complained that “in terms of actually addressing the full spectrum of what girls in these marriages might require in their lives, we need to look much more widely, and you do need to look at sexual and reproductive health” … The Clarenville Packet reported that an anonymous donor gave $5,000 to Planned Parenthood St. John’s in Newfoundland to pay for condoms that Planned Parenthood provides for free to clients of their sexual health centre. Executive director Alicia Cox estimates they give away 30,000-40,000 condoms annually … Amrik Virk, the British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education, sent a letter to Trinity Western University president Bob Kuhn informed the university that the province is considering revoking conditional consent to accredit TWU’s proposed law school. The school has been under fire for its community covenant which students sign which states they will abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” … Toronto mayor-elect John Tory attended City Hall’s first Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, taking part in the raising of the rainbow flag. Tory told reporters, “I’m going to be mayor of all the people,” an obvious swipe at former mayor Rob Ford who did not attend the Pride Parade or the ceremonial raising of the rainbow flag at City Hall … The Liberal government of Quebec is reforming the province’s famous $7.30-a-day childcare scheme so that high income earners will pay more, increasing their fees 174 per cent beginning Jan. 1, 2015 to $20-a-day. Families with incomes under $50,000 will still pay $7.30 but but everyone else will see their rates increase with the largest increase for those making more than $157,500 annually. Premier Philippe Couillard vowed to maintain the program during the provincial election earlier this year as he campaigned criticizing the Parti Quebecois plan to increase daily fees across the board to $9.
Surveys conducted by The Polling Company/WomanTrend during the midterm elections found that 39 per cent of voters said the abortion issue affected their vote, with 23 per cent saying they voted for candidates who opposed abortion and 16 per cent saying they voted for candidates who support it, a seven percentage point advantage for pro-life candidates. Carol Tobias, National Right to Life president, said in a press release: “the abortion issue has played a key role in every major election since Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980” … National Right to Life was active in 74 congressional elections and the pro-life candidate they supported won in 53 of them, for a success rate of 72 per cent … Republicans won control of the Senate in the midterm elections, gaining eight seats to bring their total to 53 (with the possibility of gaining another in the run-off this month). NARAL Pro-Choice America complained that “the pro-choice firewall is gone” noting that there are no longer 41 senators who support abortion, a number critical to uphold a filibuster against pro-life bills or amendments … Amendment 67, a “personhood” law, lost 64-36 per cent in Colorado, and Measure 1, a human life law, lost 64-35 per cent in North Dakota. In Tennessee Amendment 1, which stated, “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion,” passed 53-47 per cent. The amendment upholds the power of elected state representatives to “enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion,” and takes power away from the judiciary to overturn pro-life laws. Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, said, “this was the necessary first step toward protection not only for the unborn but for women and girls who fall prey to people looking to profit from untimely or unexpected pregnancies” … 40 Days for Life has moved its Bryan-College Station, Texas headquarters into the former Planned Parenthood facility in the city, the location of the first 40 Days for Life vigil in 2004. Director Shawn Carney said, “what was once a place of death and despair” where 6400 children lost their lives, “is now going to be a place of life and hope.”