Manitoba

March for equality hears anger toward judge

Calls for the resignation of a Manitoba judge rang out in the streets of Winnipeg Tuesday as roughly 300 people marched to celebrate the 100th International Women's Day.
Many took part in a march to mark the 100th International Women's Day. ((CBC))
Calls for the resignation of a Manitoba judge rang out in the streets of Winnipeg Tuesday as roughly 300 people marched to celebrate the 100th International Women's Day.

The march was peppered with renewed criticism of a Court of Queen's Bench judge who is at the centre of a firestorm of controversy over comments made in a recent sexual assault case ruling.

The Provincial Minister for the Status of Women, Jennifer Howard, said the government has filed a complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council about Justice Robert Dewar.

Dewar said "sex was in the air" when he spared a man jail time by handing him a two-year conditional sentence instead and allowed him to remain free in the community.

During the sentencing, Dewar also commented on the way the woman was dressed and her actions the night she was forced to have sex by a man in the woods along a dark highway outside Thompson, Man., in 2006.

One of the signs carried during the march said: "Dewar's resignation is in the air."
Justice Robert Dewar, who has a background as a civil lawyer, was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench in 2009. ((Department of Justice Canada))

Howard said the continued expressions of outrage at what Dewar said are a sign of progress in the fight for equality for women.

"When a comment is made that a women can do something - to dress in some way - to deserve sexual assault, we as a community with unanimity say that is wrong," she told CBC News.

Dewar is currently not hearing cases "of a sexual nature" until the complaints process runs its course.