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Omnibus Bill: A new era in Canada

The Story

The Omnibus Bill goes into effect after successfully passing the Senate, implementing several amendments to the Criminal Code. While the bill loosens laws concerning abortion, homosexuality and divorce, Justice Minister John Turner feels the Criminal Code is still outdated, calling it a "19th century document." In this clip, Turner calls for the formation of a national law reform commission to "tear the Code apart right from the ground up because, in many areas, it's an outdated document."

Medium: Radio
Program: The World At Six
Broadcast Date: Aug. 26, 1969
Guest: John Turner
Host: Bruce Rogers
Reporter: Peter Loucks
Duration: 2:32
Photo: National Archives of Canada (PA-111424)

Did You know?

• Aside from tackling issues like abortion, divorce, gun laws and homosexuality, the Omnibus Bill also legalized lotteries and sanctioned the sale and distribution of information regarding contraceptives. Prior to passage of the bill it was a criminal offence to sell, advertise or publish an advertisement of any medicine or drug intended to prevent conception. The offence carried a two-year prison sentence.

• Prior to the passing of the bill, sodomy was a Criminal Code offence in Canada carrying a 14-year prison term upon conviction. Today, there is no provision in the Criminal Code regarding sodomy.


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