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Canada plans to raise age of consent to 16 from 14

By Staff
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Apr 19 (Reuters) Canada's new Conservative government will soon unveil legislation to raise the age of sexual consent to 16 from 14, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said today.

The planned measure is part of a crackdown on crime -- one of the main policy platforms during the Conservatives' campaign ahead of the January. 23 election.

''We will protect young people by raising the age of consent for sexual relations between adults and children from 14 to 16 years of age,'' Harper said in a speech in the central Canadian city of Winnipeg.

Harper said the change would bring Canada into line with most countries.

''It is long overdue and it is particularly important in the age of the Internet where young people are increasingly targeted by cyber-predators,'' he said.

The age of consent measure is part of a package of planned legislation that includes mandatory minimum prison sentences for serious and violent crimes as well as ending the practice of conditional sentences and house arrest.

REUTERS PG PM0032

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