Home Social Trends Women in Society Collins leads in legislating against coercive control

Collins leads in legislating against coercive control

Bill C-332 now heads to the senate.

laurel collins, ndp, mp
Laurel Collins, MP (Victoria) in Ottawa, June 13, 2024. [CPAC]

Thursday June 13, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC

Political analysis by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Coercive control in relationships is in the process of being criminalized.

Bill C-332 as put forward by NDP MP Laurel Collins (Victoria) is intended to protect victims of intimate partner violence.

laurel collins, ndp, mp, victoria
Victoria MP Laurel Collins at the federal heat pump announcement May 13, 2024 in Victoria. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

After having passed third reading with unanimous support in the House of Commons yesterday (June 12, 2024), the bill now heads to the Senate.

Collins says she introduced the bill in response to behaviour she had witnessed in her own family.

A coercive control bill was first introduced by long-time NDP MP Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) a few years ago but it fell between the cracks. Collins began bringing the bill forward again in November 2023.

About coercive control:

The bill would criminalize actions like attempting to control an intimate partner’s actions, employment, finances or other property, which Collins argues would be a part of a larger pattern of abuse meant to limit a victim’s freedom and choices.

Coercive control is often associated with behaviour that leads to intimate partner violence (IPV).

IPV has been called an epidemic in Canadian society.

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Downside to criminalizing:

There hasn’t been a lot of mention of how this legislation could go wrong.

Setting up criminal potential within a household makes for other dynamic changes in relationships.

There still appears to be little to no root-cause discussion or debate in Canada as to why men feel they need to control women, and further that they feel they have the right to bring physical harm to women. There are many socioeconomic and cultural factors to consider there (for another article, another time).

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Collins in Ottawa:

Laurel Collins has often been critiqued in the political sphere for her emotional approach to delivering remarks in the House of Commons. She is a young mother of two daughters and obviously highly charged with a sense of what’s right for women and others in society.

Currently Collins is the NDP Critic for Environment and Climate Change and Deputy Critic for Families Children and Social Development.

jagmeet singh, laurel collins, uvic, students
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Laurel Collins, MP (Victoria) addressed media at the UVic campus, accompanied by grad students, Aug 30, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Collins was first elected as the MP for Victoria in 2019 (with 33.2% of the vote — edging out a win over the Green candidate), and re-elected in 2021 (with 43.9% of the vote — more than the Liberal and Conservative contenders combined). She is running again in the next federal election.

Collins jumped directly from municipal to federal politics. She was a City of Victoria councillor for a short time (from October 2018 into 2019 before running federally). Her husband is James McNish who works with the Planning & Priorities Secretariat (a division of the BC Premier’s office).

randall garrison, ad, 2021

===== RELATED:

Also see: MPs vote unanimously to criminalize coercive control (CBC – June 13, 2024)

Randall Garrison MP supports petition on coercive & controlling behaviour (August 24, 2022)

More evident violence against women during COVID sparks social and legislative support (November 25, 2021)