What's included in the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act

OTTAWA - The Senate is currently reviewing Bill S-7, the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act. Here are the practices the bill would deal with if passed, and how:

— Polygamists who are not Canadian citizens and who seek to come to Canada would be barred from entry if they intend to practice polygamy.

— No person who is under the age of 16 will be able to consent to marriage.

— No one can get married until all of their previous marriages have been dissolved by death or divorce or declared null by a court order.

— Anyone who "celebrates, aids or participates" in a marriage ceremony knowing that one of the people is marrying against their will would be guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

— Anyone who "celebrates, aids or participates" in a marriage ceremony where one of the people being married is under 16 years old would be guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

— Everyone who is lawfully authorized to solemnize marriage and who knowingly solemnizes an unlawful marriage would be guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

— Someone who is aware that another person is about to force someone into marriage, or marry someone under 16, can give that information to a judge in a bid to stop it.

— Currently, people charged with murder can claim they were provoked, which could reduce their sentences. The bill more clearly defines what provocation is, for the purposes of removing it as a defence in cases involving so-called "honour killings."


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