|Edmonton Journal - March 2, 1999
One can almost see her rolling up her sleeves and reaching for her seal club. Last Thursday, after her
colleague Mr. Justice John Major, had overturned Alberta Court of Appeal Justice John McClung's acquittal of an
Edmonton rapist, Supreme Court Justice Claire LHeureux-Dubé apparently remained dissatisfied.
"Although (Justice Major) has recounted the facts," L'Heureux-Dubé wrote, revving up for her attack on McClung,
"there are some nuances that need to be stated." That may not sound like much, but in judicial circles, it's about
as snide as things get.
In fact, Major had dealt adequately with all the legal nuances. He had dismissed, for instance, the notions
that Steve Ewanchuk's victim had given her "implied consent" and that Ewanchuk had an "honest but mistaken belief"
his advances were welcome. Rather, L'Heureux-Dubé seemed intent on spending a few pages slamming McClung.
For the record, last year when McClung upheld Ewanchuk's acquittal, I disagreed with both his reasoning and his
Ewanchuk, who was in his mid-40s at the time of the 1994 assault, lured a 17-year-old into his trailer in a
mall parking lot with the hint of giving her a job. That she presented herself for the interview in a T-shirt and
shorts hardly matters. She was a teenager. At a mall.
More important, Ewanchuk sought her out, not the other way around. Nor did she have time to go home and change.
Her outfit made no statement about her openness to sexual advances since it had been chosen for a day of shopping
with a friend, not as an enticement to a prospective employer.
Besides, in the victim's mind, Ewanchuk and she were employer and employee. Perhaps she was naive not to
see what was going on. But even if Ewanchuk had hopes of having sex with the victim when he convinced her to join
him, there is no indication that she shared or even understood his intentions. By entering his trailer she was not
inviting Ewanchuk's groping and grinding.
Still, L'Heureux-Dubé, far from reasserting some reason into the debate, perpetuated a gross of feminist myths
about men and rape, and in the process made a very bad, one-sided precedent by which to try future cases.
"According to (McClung's) analysis," L'Heureux-Dubé asserted, "a man would be free of criminal responsibility for
having non-consentual sexual activity whenever he cannot control his hormonal urges."
Drivel. McClung advanced no such argument. In his less-than-delicate way, McClung was contending that
determining whether consent for sex has been granted is a complex, often difficult process. Messages, both verbal
and physical (including the way a woman dresses), can be mixed, and misunderstood.
That McClung's determination of consent in the Ewanchuk case was wrong, does not mean his reasoning is
universally flawed. The faulty reasoning belongs to strident feminists who contend it is always easy to determine
guilt in a rape case: If a women cries rape, she must be telling the truth. Some man must pay.
L'Heureux-Dubé argued Thursday that the test for consent should be entirely subjective. If the woman did not
consent in her own mind, even if she consented in words and actions, there is no consent and, therefore, the man
is guilty of sexual assault.
Feminist groups have hailed L'Heureux-Dubé's judgment, which points to a two-facedness on their part on the
crime of rape.
Ewanchuk, in the confines of his "office," squeezed a prospective employee's breasts, ground his clothed pelvis
into hers, and exposed his penis in hopes she would consent to sex with him. After each unwanted advance, his
victim said "no" and he desisted.
McClung referred to these assaults as "three clumsy passes," and was upbraided by L'Heureux-Dubé for doing so.
To describe these "as 'clumsy passes,' (is) plainly inappropriate," she wrote. It minimizes "the importance of the
accused's conduct and the reality of sexual aggression against women."
But Bill Clinton, in the confines of the Oval Office, squeezed the breasts of a woman who came looking for a
job (Kathleen Willey), and forced her hand onto his clothed penis. And, when he was governor of Arkansas, he
exposed his penis to Paula Jones, an employee of his state government, in hopes she would consent to sex.
Yet, writing in the New York Times last March, feminist icon Gloria Steinem called Clinton's assault on Willey
"a gross, dumb and reckless pass." He was not guilty of sexual assault, according to Steinem, because after each
unwanted advance, he "took 'no' for an answer."
Plainly, feminists believe what is criminal in most men is appropriate for a charming, pro-abortion, liberal