When I started attacking the "Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act" in the House this spring, I knew it was a campaign tactic masquerading as legislation. I knew it had nothing to do with public policy or any form of legitimate response to a real threat. It is the most manipulative, cynical legislation imaginable. It makes illegal things that are already illegal. Like honour killings ̶ otherwise known as murder. Or forced marriage ̶ otherwise known as kidnapping. Or polygamy ̶ actually known as polygamy. All illegal.
At first I thought it was so pointless that I might vote for it. What is the harm in a law that makes things illegal that are already illegal. But then I read the briefs from criminal lawyers pointing out that removing access to the defense of provocation could actually undermine criminal law. I debated Chris Alexander in the House. He used the PMO talking points to attack opposition MPs for failing to support women by failing to condemn honour killings (huh?). And I asked him why, if he was concerned about violence against women, there was no inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. I went across the floor after the exchange to ask how he could be supporting such absurd legislation. At which point he told me I was listening to the wrong people. "What people?" I asked. "Lawyers," he said.