The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 (SC 1968-69, c 38) was passed on May 14, 1969, 46 years ago today. Bill C-150, a massive 126-page document, was an omnibus bill introduced by then Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1967. Among other things, the bill proposed to decriminalize homosexuality between consenting adults, ease abortion and contraception rules, regulate gun possession, lotteries, drinking and driving, harassing phone calls, misleading advertising, and cruelty to animals. In defending his Bill, Trudeau made his famous statement “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation”. Succeeding Minister of Justice John Turner said in his address to the Parliament:
“Mr. Speaker, this legislation is the most important and all-embracing reform of the criminal and penal law ever attempted at one time in this country. What the changes mean, as far as I am concerned, are not a demand for law and order that freeze men into a predetermined pattern but law and order that respond to change and to movement and give us options. Because, sir, yesterday’s order, if unresponsive to change, becomes tomorrow’s oppression.”
The bill passed third reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 149 (Liberals 119, New Democrats 18, Progressive Conservatives 12) to 55.