Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May is sponsoring a petition calling for public nudity to be allowed in Canada.
May, who is MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, is listed as the MP sponsor of the petition. James Andrew Porter of North Saanich brought it forward.
The petition states that nudity is not intrinsically sexual, indecent or obscene and that Canada’s existing prohibition on public nudity is harmful to society by reinforcing the notion that the human body is “inherently shameful”.
“We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to repeal Section 174 of the Criminal Code and insert language into the Criminal Code specifying that public nudity, in and of itself, is not indecent, obscene, or a nuisance,” the petition states.
May told Black Press Media that she has not signed the petition, she has only agreed to sponsor it as MPs are expected to sponsor or present any petition approved by parliamentary officers.
“To be clear, I am not a supporter of the petitioners’ goal. I am not a supporter of public nudity. I do support the rights of citizens in a democracy to get direct answers from their government. This is an avenue too few Canadians know is available to them.”
As of May 17, the petition has garnered 360 signatures — 165 of which are from Ontario, with 59 from B.C. and 51 from Alberta.
It is currently illegal in Canada to be nude in a public place or while on private property but exposed to public view. Being nude in public constitutes an “indecent act”. Punishments can include up to two years in prison, fines of $5,000 or both.