On a slow holiday Monday, the Globe and Mail/Canadian Press is reporting on the short life and quick death of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’s request to return the charge of ‘rape’ to the law of the land.

Apparently, the Federal justice department didn’t do much with the idea, which is probably a good thing.

In the early ’80s the crime was done away with for the more general ‘sexual assault’ – and, by extension, ‘aggravated sexual assault.’

Toews wanted rape to be put back, calling the doing away with the crime the biggest mistake Parliament has made with respect to criminal law.

The justice department didn’t agree.

Many Manitoba Crowns have told me that the real issue is the 10-year maximum prison term for sexual (not aggravated) sexual assault. Judges are left with a huge range of discretion in how offenders are punished.

I feel it would have been better use of Toews’s time to push for stronger penalties.

And as well: how about making possession/distribution/creation of child pornography an included offence under sexual assault law?

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