How will parties approach the legality of sex work after the Supreme Court decision?

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Unionist
How will parties approach the legality of sex work after the Supreme Court decision?

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Unionist

This is (IMHO) an important political question. The Supreme Court has given Parliament one year (after the Bedford decision) to rewrite the Criminal Code in accordance with its decision.

As some babblers are prohibited from posting in some forums where this issue is being discussed (or reluctant to do so for various reasons), I'm opening this thread. Hopefully, we can talk about the political and legal aspects here, without trying to convince each other that sex work is good or evil.

I know, I'm dreaming. But this discussion is necessary.

 

Unionist
Antonia Z

Those who know me, in real life or via social media, know my views on the deriminalization of sex work.

And, for the record, "legality" is a misnomer here as prostiutiton has always been legal.

I highly doubt any party, with the possible exception of the NDP, will want to be the party that makes Canada resemble anything like a sex tourism destination. (And no, I am not saying that's the NDP's aim. I'm saying that's what the critics will call us if the decision is allowed to stand as is.)

The NDP, thanks to presence of Libby Davies, who is well acquainted with the horrors of the Pickton debacle, will likely take a measured stance. The statement by Boivin made that clear. It will look to protect those on the margins. To the uninformed, the NDP will look like it is taking the caring approach -- and I mean that in a good way.

The Cons, who really don't seem to care much about protecting women, at least judging from their stances on maternal health, missing and murdered indigenous women etc., will make a show of protecting sex workers with what they deem a "Made in Canada" Nordic Model, whatever that means. The prefect distraction from Robocalls, Duffy, and all the rest.

As for young Trudeau, I wish he'd listen to his father.

There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. What's done in private between adults doesn't concern the Criminal Code. (Video)

cco

Antonia Z wrote:

I highly doubt any party, with the possible exception of the NDP, will want to be the party that makes Canada resemble anything like a sex tourism destination. (And no, I am not saying that's the NDP's aim. I'm saying that's what the critics will call us if the decision is allowed to stand as is.)

While I'm sure you're correct, this logic really irks me (see also the "drug tourism" debate). Canadian laws should be there to benefit Canadians, not to show off for tourists. Take the plastic off the furniture, Grandma; Sinatra ain't coming over.

As for Libby Davies, given her role in scuttling Niki Ashton's sex worker rights resolution at the Montréal convention, I get the feeling Mulcair's going to put her out front in selling whatever position he decides on (probably not a good one), regardless of her personal views. The whole thing smacked of backroom pressure and left a bad taste in my mouth.

Brachina

 I think I read somewhere that Peter McKay already indicatated that the Tories are not inclined towards the Nordic model, perhaps because they don't believe it will servive a court challenge, or because polls say that most Canadians support legalization. I wish I remembered where I read that, damn.

 For some reason I have this weird gut feeling all of a sudden that people will "look into it" to the point of running out the clock and the laws will just disappear in a years time. This is the sort of issue that will be divisive in all parties so pretending to do something, when they all know there is really nothing they can do to stop it anyways, instead of taking some useless destructive action will be the most likely result.

 I do have one suggestion. Instead of a law against prostitution, lets put resources into fighting poverty, doing so at minium means making life easier for those Prostitution in the worst posititions, street walker mostly, and at maximium may provide the freedom to leave the profession for some.

 

 It comes down to creating greater economic freedom.

 I think working against proverty and drug addiction is something those who are pro and con on this issue on the left can agree upon.

Brachina

cco wrote:
Antonia Z wrote:

I highly doubt any party, with the possible exception of the NDP, will want to be the party that makes Canada resemble anything like a sex tourism destination. (And no, I am not saying that's the NDP's aim. I'm saying that's what the critics will call us if the decision is allowed to stand as is.)

While I'm sure you're correct, this logic really irks me (see also the "drug tourism" debate). Canadian laws should be there to benefit Canadians, not to show off for tourists. Take the plastic off the furniture, Grandma; Sinatra ain't coming over.

As for Libby Davies, given her role in scuttling Niki Ashton's sex worker rights resolution at the Montréal convention, I get the feeling Mulcair's going to put her out front in selling whatever position he decides on (probably not a good one), regardless of her personal views. The whole thing smacked of backroom pressure and left a bad taste in my mouth.

 

 I think you miss understood why Libby did that. She didn't scuttle it, she refered it to the executive I believe, and she did that so certain elements in the party would may prefer a Nordic Model wouldn't mess with it. 

 

 Libby was vice chair on that parliamentary subcomittee on prostitution which got PM Martin to forge in the first place. I have full faith in Libby Davies on this or anyother issue under the sun. 

 

lookielou

Said Brachina:

> people will "look into it" to the point of running out the clock and the laws will just disappear in a years time.

That would be the best outcome. The alternatives likely to be put forward by that dimmest of wits Peter McKay would be a horrible step backwards.

 

cco

Brachina wrote:

 I think you miss understood why Libby did that. She didn't scuttle it, she refered it to the executive I believe, and she did that so certain elements in the party would may prefer a Nordic Model wouldn't mess with it. 

Sentencing it to committee, essentially, to die a quiet death at the whim of the executive. Other than the party constitution, it was the only resolution of any substance or controversy which made it to the floor, and suddenly it got sent off somewhere so it could be debated out of the eye of the membership and the general public. Though I could well be misunderstanding, it sure felt backroom to me.

Don't get me wrong: I love Libby Davies and I have no real inside information (just fourthhand speculation) on her standing with the current leader. I just feel like she may have been forced into an uncomfortable position with Mulcair after he won the leadership, as her deputy position seems to have accompanied her silence on formerly key issues. Making your ideological opponents trumpet your positions seems like a very Mulcairesque move to make.

Bacchus

This is what I said earlier and no one seemed to believe me

Unionist

Brachina wrote:

 I think I read somewhere that Peter McKay already indicatated that the Tories are not inclined towards the Nordic model, perhaps because they don't believe it will servive a court challenge, or because polls say that most Canadians support legalization. I wish I remembered where I read that, damn.

Whatever - he appears to have [url=http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/01/13/public-voices-13/#.UtibE7Tcc... his mind[/url] somewhat:

Quote:
While at first Justice Minister Peter MacKay expressed misgivings about the Nordic model, he seems to have overcome them. In a recent interview with La Presse, he announced that “focusing on those who commit the crime, that is to say, pimps and customers will certainly be part of the response from the Government of Canada.”

I emphasized "certainly", just to indicate my conviction that the Conservatives are going to criminalize something which is currently legal - either the purchase of sex, or maybe its sale as well. They will not "run out the clock" on anything.

The opposition parties had better be ready with their response to criminalization of sex work, just in case.

Are they?

 

mark_alfred

Unionist wrote:

Quote:
While at first Justice Minister Peter MacKay expressed misgivings about the Nordic model, he seems to have overcome them. In a recent interview with La Presse, he announced that “focusing on those who commit the crime, that is to say, pimps and customers will certainly be part of the response from the Government of Canada.”

The Sun artiicle linked in the quote above has a poll, which reads "Should prostitution be allowed?"  Interesting that the results are 5326 "yes" (75%), 1314 "no" (18%), and 407 "I don't know" (6%).

theleftyinvestor

lookielou wrote:

Said Brachina:

> people will "look into it" to the point of running out the clock and the laws will just disappear in a years time.

That would be the best outcome. The alternatives likely to be put forward by that dimmest of wits Peter McKay would be a horrible step backwards.

That's what happened under Mulroney with abortion, right? There was simply no legislative solution that was more politically palatable than leaving a legal vacuum, and so that's what we ended up with.

cco wrote:
I love Libby Davies and I have no real inside information (just fourthhand speculation) on her standing with the current leader. I just feel like she may have been forced into an uncomfortable position with Mulcair after he won the leadership

Speaking of uncomfortable positions, you should see the awkward Libby & Tom photos that occasionally get mailed out to her constituents (of which I am currently one).

mark_alfred wrote:

The Sun article linked in the quote above has a poll, which reads "Should prostitution be allowed?"  Interesting that the results are 5326 "yes" (75%), 1314 "no" (18%), and 407 "I don't know" (6%).

I would think the Sun's typical reader constituency has a right-libertarian reactionary bent, and is likely to favour looser controls on what would conventionally be called the "sin industries" - tobacco, pot, hard drugs, alcohol, porn, sex work, etc. The right-wingers who want to make those laws stricter are going to be reading a completely different publication.

cco

theleftyinvestor wrote:

Speaking of uncomfortable positions, you should see the awkward Libby & Tom photos that occasionally get mailed out to her constituents (of which I am currently one).

You should post one here.

Unionist

theleftyinvestor wrote:

lookielou wrote:

Said Brachina:

> people will "look into it" to the point of running out the clock and the laws will just disappear in a years time.

That would be the best outcome. The alternatives likely to be put forward by that dimmest of wits Peter McKay would be a horrible step backwards.

That's what happened under Mulroney with abortion, right? There was simply no legislative solution that was more politically palatable than leaving a legal vacuum, and so that's what we ended up with.

Bad example. Mulroney's government tabled a bill to re-criminalize abortion after the Supreme Court struck down the law. The bill passed the House. Luckily, the Senate defeated it. That was followed soon after by 13 years of Liberal rule. I don't think today's Senate would repeat that example, do you?

Brachina

cco wrote:
Brachina wrote:

 I think you miss understood why Libby did that. She didn't scuttle it, she refered it to the executive I believe, and she did that so certain elements in the party would may prefer a Nordic Model wouldn't mess with it. 

Sentencing it to committee, essentially, to die a quiet death at the whim of the executive. Other than the party constitution, it was the only resolution of any substance or controversy which made it to the floor, and suddenly it got sent off somewhere so it could be debated out of the eye of the membership and the general public. Though I could well be misunderstanding, it sure felt backroom to me.

Don't get me wrong: I love Libby Davies and I have no real inside information (just fourthhand speculation) on her standing with the current leader. I just feel like she may have been forced into an uncomfortable position with Mulcair after he won the leadership, as her deputy position seems to have accompanied her silence on formerly key issues. Making your ideological opponents trumpet your positions seems like a very Mulcairesque move to make.

 If you think that is a Mulcairesque move then you don't understand Mulcair at all. Its not even close. And they were never idealogical oppentions, they had a tiff over Isreal/Palestain which has since been resolved. I see no evidence Mulcair had anything to do with it. In fact if you read the press release from the NDP on this they seem inclined to "work with prostitutes" for a safer work enviroment which I can only interpt as opposing criminalizing the profession. Because you can't do both.

  For some perpective my late mother was a prostitute with a drug addiction, not that most people would have assumed that, we lead a mostly lower middle class life for most of my life. I never held it against her and honestly if anyone had told her who she could be intimate with and why she'd have slapped them upside the head. 

 And people like Warren Kinsella who says prostitution is payed rape is a fool and an ass. That's offense to both Rape victims and prostitutes.

 I say we focus resources into proverty prevention and new tools for fighting drug addiction. We need to take the stigma out of prostitution and drug addiction. It was very hard for my mother to get the help she needed from her family because she was so embarrassed. People should be made to be ashamed to ask for help and exploited by the rescue industry either.

theleftyinvestor

cco wrote:
theleftyinvestor wrote:

Speaking of uncomfortable positions, you should see the awkward Libby & Tom photos that occasionally get mailed out to her constituents (of which I am currently one).

You should post one here.

Hah, I will next time I have one. I seem to have recycled that particular flyer.

Unionist wrote:

Bad example. Mulroney's government tabled a bill to re-criminalize abortion after the Supreme Court struck down the law. The bill passed the House. Luckily, the Senate defeated it. That was followed soon after by 13 years of Liberal rule. I don't think today's Senate would repeat that example, do you?

Ah, I failed to get my history correct. You're right, the Senate would be unlikely to strike it down. However some of the more PC-inclined senators might voice concerns if there is anything constitutionally questionable.

sherpa-finn

Unionist wrote: Mulroney's government tabled a bill to re-criminalize abortion after the Supreme Court struck down the law. The bill passed the House. Luckily, the Senate defeated it.

A bit of Parliamentary trivia:  interestingly, the 1991 Senate vote on C-43 was actually a tie.  43-43.  Since in the Senate, the Speaker does not have a casting vote (to make or break a tie) the vote stood and the motion was defeated.  By the skin of some old senatorial teeth, Mulroney's attempt to recriminalize abortion was defeated.  

Pondering

Unionist wrote:

It seems to me that an important basis of the reasoning in that section is that selling sex for money is lawful. If it were banned (like selling cannabis, or stolen goods, or a myriad of other examples) - how could Section 7 be invoked? Especially for people that choose freely to engage in sex work? And for those "forced" into crime, surely they'd have to plead that on an individual basis if charged, just as would now be the case for other types of illegal activity.

Am I making sense?

Yes, perfect sense, and I agree, except for one thing.  The court also considered the purpose of the law as written and determined a primary motivation was to reduce public nuisance.  If a new law were written with much the same goal then I think the court could say that on balance, what the government is trying to prevent is not significant enough to criminalize prostitution based on the same arguments.

So, the government must not only criminalize prostitution they must also have a reason for criminalization that can stand up to scrutiny if the law is challenged.  I'm pretty confident they can accomplish that.

The last catch is if anyone will be willing to challenge the law at all.  Alan Young went looking for clients for this challenge because he believed he could win it.  He will go down in history as the lawyer who won at the Supreme Court.  I suspect that if Canada gets a Nordic model law that he will not be willing to contest it.

I don't know about the Pivot legal society motivation so they might still contest a new law.  I think it depends a lot on whether or not they see a weakness in the way it is written.

It was nice talking with you. Bye.

 

mark_alfred

Well, I had written a billion word essay speculating on what the political parties would do on the basis of whom I believe they're trying to reach, the legalities, past behaviour, past cases and crimes, competition from their competitors, desired image projection, etc.  But it occurred to me that no one would want to spend a few days on one of my posts (and I didn't reach any definitive conclusion), so I'm just including the opening of my essay here:

 

I suspect that the parties are not actually studying the issue, but rather are reading their polling tea leaves to see which position will give them most bang for their buck with whatever group of supporters they're targeting.  Sad I should think such a thing.

A few things figure into what position they'll put forward.  One is the enforce-ability of any position they take (the legal question).  That's been discussed quite a bit in this thread.  Some possibilities were considered, that being:

  1. making full-service sex-work completely illegal

  2. making the purchase of services of full-service sex-workers illegal (no johns), along with making procuring (no pimps, madames, or agents) and making providing a place for full-service sex-workers to work in illegal (no rentals for full-service sex-workers), but not making the sale of such a service illegal; note, this is the so-called Nordic or Swedish Model.  People discussing this generally focus on making the purchase illegal but allowing the sale.  The idea is not to target the full-service sex-workers themselves but to target and prevent anyone else from being involved in the transaction (IE, prevent anyone else from either receiving the service or benefiting from the exchange.)

  3. full legalization including licensing, zoning (IE, setting up "red light districts"), paying taxes, inspections of premises (as is done with restaurants, etc) to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations; I think Amsterdam or Germany have something like this going on.

  4. decriminalization, but with some regulations for both community safety and the safety of full-service sex-trade workers; New Zealand has something like this.

  5. shuffling regulation of the industry off to the provinces, similar to what was done with gambling (aka the hands off or downloading approach) or perhaps what is done with motorized vehicle highway traffic law (mostly regulated provincially, with fines, summary conviction, and demerit points, depending upon what the jurisdiction puts in place).

  6. Do nothing, and let the three laws simply vanish after a year with no replacement.

 

So, in looking at the political tea leaves of each of the parties, I'll analyze how I believe each one will deal with it and which of the options above they'll most likely advocate and why.  I believe  ..... or maybe .... yet also .... conversely .... but historically we see ......

mark_alfred

Brachina wrote:

cco wrote:
Brachina wrote:

 I think you miss understood why Libby did that. She didn't scuttle it, she refered it to the executive I believe, and she did that so certain elements in the party would may prefer a Nordic Model wouldn't mess with it. 

Sentencing it to committee, essentially, to die a quiet death at the whim of the executive. Other than the party constitution, it was the only resolution of any substance or controversy which made it to the floor, and suddenly it got sent off somewhere so it could be debated out of the eye of the membership and the general public. Though I could well be misunderstanding, it sure felt backroom to me.

Don't get me wrong: I love Libby Davies and I have no real inside information (just fourthhand speculation) on her standing with the current leader. I just feel like she may have been forced into an uncomfortable position with Mulcair after he won the leadership, as her deputy position seems to have accompanied her silence on formerly key issues. Making your ideological opponents trumpet your positions seems like a very Mulcairesque move to make.

 If you think that is a Mulcairesque move then you don't understand Mulcair at all. Its not even close. And they were never idealogical oppentions, they had a tiff over Isreal/Palestain which has since been resolved. I see no evidence Mulcair had anything to do with it. In fact if you read the press release from the NDP on this they seem inclined to "work with prostitutes" for a safer work enviroment which I can only interpt as opposing criminalizing the profession. Because you can't do both.

  For some perpective my late mother was a prostitute with a drug addiction, not that most people would have assumed that, we lead a mostly lower middle class life for most of my life. I never held it against her and honestly if anyone had told her who she could be intimate with and why she'd have slapped them upside the head. 

 And people like Warren Kinsella who says prostitution is payed rape is a fool and an ass. That's offense to both Rape victims and prostitutes.

 I say we focus resources into proverty prevention and new tools for fighting drug addiction. We need to take the stigma out of prostitution and drug addiction. It was very hard for my mother to get the help she needed from her family because she was so embarrassed. People should [not] be made to be ashamed to ask for help and exploited by the rescue industry either.

Agreed.  I would be surprised if the NDP went down the prohitionist road.  Unionist in another thread had asked how people felt the parties would vote if there was a free vote in the HofC over total prohibition.  So, I think the NDP would mostly vote against (on a 'it would produce more harm than good' basis), Liberals and Conservatives mostly in favour ('protecting neighbourhood associations and the middle-class' for the Libs and 'protecting family values and law and order' for the Cons).  For partial prohibition (so-called Nordic thing) it's harder for me to say, simply because with the Bedford decision I'm wondering how it could be deemed a suitable replacement for the laws that were struck down (since, like the struck down laws, the Nordic thingy also strikes me as too broad). 

I think there's a good chance the Cons may just pass it down to the provinces.

Mórríghain

mark_alfred wrote:

  1. making full-service sex-work completely illegal

  2. making the purchase of services of full-service sex-workers illegal (no johns), along with making procuring (no pimps, madames, or agents) and making providing a place for full-service sex-workers to work in illegal (no rentals for full-service sex-workers), but not making the sale of such a service illegal; note, this is the so-called Nordic or Swedish Model.  People discussing this generally focus on making the purchase illegal but allowing the sale.  The idea is not to target the full-service sex-workers themselves but to target and prevent anyone else from being involved in the transaction (IE, prevent anyone else from either receiving the service or benefiting from the exchange.)

  3. full legalization including licensing, zoning (IE, setting up "red light districts"), paying taxes, inspections of premises (as is done with restaurants, etc) to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations; I think Amsterdam or Germany have something like this going on.

  4. decriminalization, but with some regulations for both community safety and the safety of full-service sex-trade workers; New Zealand has something like this.

  5. shuffling regulation of the industry off to the provinces, similar to what was done with gambling (aka the hands off or downloading approach) or perhaps what is done with motorized vehicle highway traffic law (mostly regulated provincially, with fines, summary conviction, and demerit points, depending upon what the jurisdiction puts in place).

  6. Do nothing, and let the three laws simply vanish after a year with no replacement.

Option 1) I can see social conservatives supporting this option for moral (in their eyes) and practical reasons. The prostitutes are saved from the degradation of prostitution and the streets are cleaned up a bit—a win win. Saner conservatives will disapprove of this option because the efforts involved in enforcing complete prohibition would be too wasteful (see War on Drugs) and the government would come across as being far too heavy-handed in their further victimization of an already victimized group. Social conservatives do not hold sway in the government so this option does not pass.

Option 2) Most conservatives can get behind this option, thinking it will protect prostitutes (or appear to) and reduce the nuisance of street prostitution in twitchy neighbourhoods. Many Torontonians will support two, seeing it as an ongoing street-sweep. The option will be sold as a way of protecting prostitutes from predatory men but thinking Libs and NDPers should see through this screen. The Criminal Code never protected anyone from anything. However our current crop of elected officials is not known for its intelligence so I can well imagine a few Libs backing Option 2 but the dippers will shy away because of the bad optics. The cons will vote it in; say hello to the new rat bastard law.

Option 3) I cannot see the Harper government opting for legalization despite the results in online polls conducted by organizations such as the Sun News Network. SNN's fans like this option because they think the feds (or some bureaucracy) will be able to licence and monitor the prostitutes then 'tax the hell outta them' (a common SNN viewer quote). All this is nonsense. Controlling 'legalized' street prostitution would be very difficult and the revenue generated through a new sin tax would be minimal. The one sin tax that would make money is a tax on legal marijuana but the cons aren't interested in this—fools. The Libs might back this option, viewing it as a lesser of a number of evils but I'd be surprised if the NDP got on board. Because our current government will not support full legalization Option 3 does not pass.

Option 4) Full decriminalization, or something akin to it?... not a chance. No politician will back this option, tis a total fail. Also, politicians do not like vacuums.

Option 5) If by some stroke of whatever Option 4 was adopted the regulation of the industry would be snatched up by the provinces and/or the municipalities while they condemned the feds for abandoning their responsibilities—this, if it ever came about, could be a mess with only bureaucrats benefitting. In this environment patronizing bastards would pop up in every major city, ready to advise the local politicos how to deal with prostitution in their specific areas. Different laws/bylaws in Halifax, or the Maritimes, or Montreal, or the Eastern Townships, or Toronto, or Winnipeg or... Yeah, that works well. And what about the criminality which lingers around prostitution, and why are Quebec's laws different from Alberta's and...? The country is already too polarized as it is, the feds should not abdicate its responsibility so this option should be rejected.

Option 6) In a saner world this is what would happen but.... Since the Supreme Court decision was announced babblers have posted hundreds of times why this option will not be adopted. While I do not agree with many of their previous points I also do not believe our government will let bad laws lay. The feds will cook up something, the smart money says a variation on the 'Nordic Model'.

sherpa-finn

Kudos to Unionist for initiating this thread: it provides space for the perspectives of "political practitioners" (or at least pundits + observers) that was difficult to extract from the multiple other threads on the sex-work topic that were so much heavier on core ideological issues, fortified by references to multiple and often contradictory reasearch studies, policy docs and more. 

Personally, I find it a useful two-track strategy for enabling the related conversations and one that we might usefully consider on other Babble fronts. I for one find the Babble international pages a bit of a desert at the moment as the threads tend to be dominated by ideological content (Who's Right? / Who's Wrong?) rather than any discussion of praxis, - as in what can and should Canadian progressives due given Issue X or the Situation Y. 

fortunate

lookielou wrote:

Said Brachina:

> people will "look into it" to the point of running out the clock and the laws will just disappear in a years time.

That would be the best outcome. The alternatives likely to be put forward by that dimmest of wits Peter McKay would be a horrible step backwards.

 

 

I agree with this as well.   The government did an indepth Subcommittee study/report on prostitution as it was in 2005, the commitee came up wtih conclusions and recommendations, none of which included the Nordic model or making prostitution illegal in any way, and all of which suggested that the laws the SCC just removed should be removed lol.  I am recapping what is a huge report, of course, but it begs the question:  if this subcommittee already did a ton of work, interviews, considerations, conclusions and recommendations, then why isn't anyone talking about it now?    

 

http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=2599932&L...

fortunate

mark_alfred wrote:

  1. decriminalization, but with some regulations for both community safety and the safety of full-service sex-trade workers; New Zealand has something like this.

  2. shuffling regulation of the industry off to the provinces, similar to what was done with gambling (aka the hands off or downloading approach) or perhaps what is done with motorized vehicle highway traffic law (mostly regulated provincially, with fines, summary conviction, and demerit points, depending upon what the jurisdiction puts in place).

  3. Do nothing, and let the three laws simply vanish after a year with no replacement.

 

So, in looking at the political tea leaves of each of the parties, I'll analyze how I believe each one will deal with it and which of the options above they'll most likely advocate and why.  I believe  ..... or maybe .... yet also .... conversely .... but historically we see ......

 

You already know that #4 is my preference, I'm sure.  It actually addresses a ton of concerns by many many people, supporters and anti-sex work proponents.  Nothing will ever address the concerns of abolitionists other than outright illegalization, and we all know how well that works in other countries.  

 

I am posting only to point out that 6, doing nothing, will result in 5, provinces having to do something.    My best guess on this is that the current federal laws are sufficient for the provinces, as they will address the minimum age issue, and the provinces will let it go to the hands of the municipalities, who are actually the only ones out there enforcing the current laws and/or coming up with regulations based on the reality, that sex work is going on in spite of the now overturned laws, and they have things in place to help regulate it (licensing escorts for one thing, and not charging sex workers when they are obviously in an illegal bawdy house).  

 

I think the problem with the general public is they read or see a story or two, but have no idea of what is actually going on already.   They think there will be random brothels popping up on every corner, when in fact there are already adult entertainment licensing and zoning that control where these kinds of places can be set up, as well as city business licenses that already cover the majority of either a brick and mortar agency or parlour, or the independent sex worker.     Except for street workers, the current reality is that law enforcement doesn't charge anyone doing sex work, or their clients.       90% of all charges are focused on 10% of the workers/clients, the ones on the street.   This makes it of far more interest to the municipalities, not federal or provincial, to have something in place, whether it is vagrancy, loitering or solicitation laws.  Now they won't have the solicitation laws, it doesn't mean they can't get the street workers to 'move along'.   

I can see that many municipalities are already profiting in many ways from the reality of sex work in various locations and being done various ways, i really doubt they will sit still and watch a huge source of income disappear if the federal government tries an outright ban.  And, it will come back to the fact that day by day, it isn't the feds or the provs doing anything about the day to day business, it is left to the municipal city council and/or police departments.    

 

Whatever the feds come up with, just like before, the cities will decide how much, or how little, they plan to do about any laws.   

Mórríghain

fortunate wrote:

Whatever the feds come up with, just like before, the cities will decide how much, or how little, they plan to do about any laws.   

This is true; most people don't really care much about prostitution or those involved in the biz as long as it remains invisible. Hear no, see no, speak no,....

I bet all three parties are monitoring forums such as this one to get a sense of the conversation and the opinions expressed therein. The cons will see that there is no strong voice advocating one swing or t'other, they can do what they want. Tis too bad that Bedford, Scott and Young didn't think they were going to win; they were caught unprepared and put forward nothing. An opportunity missed is an opportunity lost.

Brachina

fortunate wrote:

lookielou wrote:

Said Brachina:

> people will "look into it" to the point of running out the clock and the laws will just disappear in a years time.

That would be the best outcome. The alternatives likely to be put forward by that dimmest of wits Peter McKay would be a horrible step backwards.

 

 

I agree with this as well.   The government did an indepth Subcommittee study/report on prostitution as it was in 2005, the commitee came up wtih conclusions and recommendations, none of which included the Nordic model or making prostitution illegal in any way, and all of which suggested that the laws the SCC just removed should be removed lol.  I am recapping what is a huge report, of course, but it begs the question:  if this subcommittee already did a ton of work, interviews, considerations, conclusions and recommendations, then why isn't anyone talking about it now?    

 

http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=2599932&L...

 

 It most likely will figure itself into NDP policy.

Bärlüer

Peter MacKay rules out legalization, municipal regulation of prostitution

Quote:
Casting an eye on what he called the “significant harms” flowing from the sex trade, Justice Minister Peter MacKay says prostitution is too complex to be legalized outright or regulated by municipal laws.

Sale of obtuse security instruments: legalized, regulated by provinces

Establishment of a socialized system providing for the insurance of and provision of health services: legalized and regulated by the feds and the provinces

Regulation of air and water pollution: regulated by all levels of government, including very detailed and complex municipal regulations

Sale of sexual services: too complex to be legalized/regulated

Unionist

Why am I not surprised, Bärlüer?

Unionist, above wrote:
...the Conservatives are going to criminalize something which is currently legal - either the purchase of sex, or maybe its sale as well. They will not "run out the clock" on anything.

Here's my latest theory:

=> The Conservative government will criminalize both the purchase and the sale of sex, but with heavier penalties for purchase, pimping, etc. - along the lines of the differential treatment of possession vs. trafficking of restricted drugs. <=

I think they would have a hard time criminalizing purchase alone, both politically (because they're neocon Christian evangelical reactionary thugs), and because it would enable the same kinds of grounds that led to the Bedford decision (if sale were still lawful). By banning both, they take a chance that: 1) more voters will like their anti-sex work stance (especially if they can frame it as protecting sex workers by coming down harder on customers etc.); and 2) they may be on at least as solid ground as the current Criminal Code provisions on possession and sale of certain drugs.

I'm glad I am not a lawyer. I can just throw this stuff around and wait for the experts to comment!

But from a political standpoint, I am absolutely convinced that this government will criminalize sex work to a greater extent than is currently the case.

As for the Liberals and NDP: The harder the line taken by the Cons, the more the opposition will fold. So is it always.

 

fortunate

One thing that most people don't realize is that collectives of sex workers have been and continue to work on alternatives/regulations/plans whatever you want to call it just for this situation.    I provided a link to an interview with Scott, where she mentions there have been a few 'studies' she's participated on the subject of sex work.    There is a lot of activity, but in some cases, the focus (because the enforcement) has been in the municipal level.     I think a lot of lobbying went on to get the Ottawa police department to stop or slow down charging the street sex workers.   There sure has been a more harm reduction approach decision by Vancouver city hall and VPD.   And in spite of the enforcement of their escort business license requirement, the cities of Edmonton, Saskatoon and Calgary kind of have a good idea.   They have come up with an effective way to regulate and investigate the indoor sex trade, including in massage parlours.    The zoning enforces the location of what is obviously a brothel massage parlour, the bylaws enforcement ensure that sex workers get licensed, which mean they undergo a 'talk' with 'professionals' who provide them with get out the work options, and safety tips.   In a way they have legitimicized 'escorts' in their cities, the enforcement is to ensure the women (and i assume men) go get the license (because the fines for working without are so darn high).   

 

My big issue with Edmonton is the price of the license ($1600 yearly for a single person, or work in a massage parlour as an employee for 150 a year) , and the required 'seminar' to get it.    Others have issues with the fact that licensees have to have a criminal background check.   Saskatoon recently introduced a fairly priced business license.  My issue with them is they fake booked appointments with advertising sex workers, then showed up in pairs, knocking on the ladies hotel room doors or apartment doors, giving them a great deal of fear and stress.      All just to let them know they need to go to city hall and purchase a business license (at $250 a year).  

You might see where I'm going with this:   most large cities already have policies in place that can or already do apply to sex workers, not to mention the locations they work in.   a lot of work goes on already in massage parlours.   There isn't a city police force in all of Canada that doesn't know this, and tolerates it by not charging in (most of the time) and wrestling everyone to the ground and putting them in handcuffs (and this has happened, from time to time, depending on the municipality and which police force enforces things)  .  It is just a matter of some of those laws the SCC overturned to be eliminated in order for them to be able to apply them, or to apply them legally (if you consider that Edmonton is charging sex workers to get escort licenses when they are not escorts, they can challenge the ticket in court and win).    

 

 

fortunate

Bärlüer wrote:

 

Sale of obtuse security instruments: legalized, regulated by provinces

Establishment of a socialized system providing for the insurance of and provision of health services: legalized and regulated by the feds and the provinces

Regulation of air and water pollution: regulated by all levels of government, including very detailed and complex municipal regulations

Sale of sexual services: too complex to be legalized/regulated

 

 

Priceless, lol.   :)

 

 

Take some time to read New Zealand's OHSP regulations for sex work.   It can be done lol, and sometimes in rather comical ways, but if you look at sex work from a public health and safety issue, it all makes sense.      http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/information-guidance/all-guidance-i...

 

 

Brachina

fortunate wrote:

One thing that most people don't realize is that collectives of sex workers have been and continue to work on alternatives/regulations/plans whatever you want to call it just for this situation.    I provided a link to an interview with Scott, where she mentions there have been a few 'studies' she's participated on the subject of sex work.    There is a lot of activity, but in some cases, the focus (because the enforcement) has been in the municipal level.     I think a lot of lobbying went on to get the Ottawa police department to stop or slow down charging the street sex workers.   There sure has been a more harm reduction approach decision by Vancouver city hall and VPD.   And in spite of the enforcement of their escort business license requirement, the cities of Edmonton, Saskatoon and Calgary kind of have a good idea.   They have come up with an effective way to regulate and investigate the indoor sex trade, including in massage parlours.    The zoning enforces the location of what is obviously a brothel massage parlour, the bylaws enforcement ensure that sex workers get licensed, which mean they undergo a 'talk' with 'professionals' who provide them with get out the work options, and safety tips.   In a way they have legitimicized 'escorts' in their cities, the enforcement is to ensure the women (and i assume men) go get the license (because the fines for working without are so darn high).   

 

This is why I found the anti pimp laws hilarious. The fact is is cities make big bucks from Prostitution lincining. What's worse is people like Brian Lilly who defended these laws while when you look in the back pages of the Sun, you see tons of escort ads. Brian Lilly effectively works for Prostitutes who pays his wage. He should have been arrested long ago under those rules.

My big issue with Edmonton is the price of the license ($1600 yearly for a single person, or work in a massage parlour as an employee for 150 a year) , and the required 'seminar' to get it.    Others have issues with the fact that licensees have to have a criminal background check.   Saskatoon recently introduced a fairly priced business license.  My issue with them is they fake booked appointments with advertising sex workers, then showed up in pairs, knocking on the ladies hotel room doors or apartment doors, giving them a great deal of fear and stress.      All just to let them know they need to go to city hall and purchase a business license (at $250 a year).  

You might see where I'm going with this:   most large cities already have policies in place that can or already do apply to sex workers, not to mention the locations they work in.   a lot of work goes on already in massage parlours.   There isn't a city police force in all of Canada that doesn't know this, and tolerates it by not charging in (most of the time) and wrestling everyone to the ground and putting them in handcuffs (and this has happened, from time to time, depending on the municipality and which police force enforces things)  .  It is just a matter of some of those laws the SCC overturned to be eliminated in order for them to be able to apply them, or to apply them legally (if you consider that Edmonton is charging sex workers to get escort licenses when they are not escorts, they can challenge the ticket in court and win).    

 

 

Brachina

 PS Warren Kinsella called Prostitution paid for rape, yet look in the back of the paper he writes in and you see escort ads, if he honestly feels this way he should resign immediately otherwise he's a hypocrit.

mark_alfred

fortunate wrote:

I agree with this as well.   The government did an indepth Subcommittee study/report on prostitution as it was in 2005, the commitee came up wtih conclusions and recommendations, none of which included the Nordic model or making prostitution illegal in any way, and all of which suggested that the laws the SCC just removed should be removed lol.  I am recapping what is a huge report, of course, but it begs the question:  if this subcommittee already did a ton of work, interviews, considerations, conclusions and recommendations, then why isn't anyone talking about it now?    

http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=2599932&L...

Thanks for the link fortunate.  It's very informative.  I browsed the publication.  Seems there wasn't a consensus, and it did recommend more studies.  But it did give a good idea of the different perspectives of the parties.  From it:

Recommendation 7, NDP Lib and BQ perspective wrote:
Members from the Liberal, New Democratic, and Bloc Québécois Parties are of the view that sexual activities between consenting adults that do not harm others, whether or not payment is involved, should not be prohibited by the state. They feel that it is essential to strike a balance between the safety of those selling sexual services — without judging them — and the right of all citizens to live in peace and safety.

[..]

The approach proposed by these members is premised on the idea that it is preferable to concentrate our efforts on combating exploitation and violence in the context of prostitution, rather than criminalizing consenting adults who engage in sexual activities for money.

Conservative perspective wrote:
In contrast, like many witnesses who appeared before the Subcommittee, members from the Conservative Party see prostitution as a degrading and dehumanizing act, often committed and controlled by coercive or opportunistic individuals against victims who are frequently powerless to protect themselves from abuse and exploitation. They believe that the most realistic, compassionate and responsible approach to dealing with prostitution begins by viewing most prostitutes as victims.

Unlike other parties, the Conservatives do not believe it is possible for the state to create isolated conditions in which the consensual provision of sex in exchange for money does not harm others.

[..]

The Conservatives therefore call for legal and social reforms which would reduce all prostitution through criminal sanctions that clearly target abusers (johns and pimps), and improve the ability of those engaged in prostitution — the victims — to quit. They propose a new approach to criminal justice in which the perpetrators of crime would fund, through heavy fines, the rehabilitation and support of the victims they create. These fines would also act as a significant deterrent. As for the prostitutes themselves, the Conservatives recommend a system in which first-time offenders and those forced or coerced into the lifestyle are assisted out of it, and avoid a criminal record. However, those who freely seek to benefit from the “business” of prostitution would be held accountable for the victimization which results from prostitution as a whole. To address the problem of the two-tiered sex trade, these members emphasize that law enforcement must deal equally and consistently with all forms of prostitution, whether it be found on the street, in escort services, massage parlours, bawdy houses, or other locations.

From the entry above, it does seem that the Conservatives lean toward full criminalization of prostitution ("..the prostitutes themselves...would be held accountable for the victimization which results from prostitution as a whole,") with some provisions to acknowledge the alleged "victim" status (IE, first time offence okay, but any further actions are a no no). The report as a whole favoured decriminalization (for consensual provision of sex for money) and further study in general, given that the majority of the committee was NDP, Libs, and BQ members. The official response of the government was to ignore this, and stick to its guns (from it:  "This Government condemns any conduct that results in exploitation or abuse, and accordingly does not support any reforms, such as decriminalization, that would facilitate such exploitation.")

Still hard to say what the government will do, but I'm starting to feel Unionist was correct to say that it's quite possible they'll try to fully criminalize it.

Mórríghain

mark_alfred wrote:

Still hard to say what the government will do, but I'm starting to feel Unionist was correct to say that it's quite possible they'll try to fully criminalize it.

No, the feds will not take that step; socons might like the idea but it would be viewed as too drastic and too harsh by too many other people. The report that's being referenced is 7-8 years old—kinda shakey. Complete criminalization would be difficult to implement and wasteful of police resources. If the cons are going to take a new law-and-order approach the clients are the perfect targets. They're not considered victims, they're considered 'icky' or 'creepy', they have money – at least enough to hire prostitutes – and no one will raise a fuss on their behalf when they're nicked. As the client crackdown begins some minister can make hay by pointing out how much good the government is doing protecting prostitutes and communities (there's that word) from nasty, dangerous johns blah, blah.... The feds could have customer crackdown legislation in place easily within a year, make a few positive headlines and perhaps even pick up a few brownie points with socially conservative groups and other abolitionists, then forget about prostitutes and focus on trying to win yet another election.

mark_alfred

Mórríghain wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:

Still hard to say what the government will do, but I'm starting to feel Unionist was correct to say that it's quite possible they'll try to fully criminalize it.

No, the feds will not take that step; socons might like the idea but it would be viewed as too drastic and too harsh by too many other people. 

 

That was what I thought initially too.  I think you're likely right that they'd view full criminalization as too drastic, but I'm less certain than I once was.

Mórríghain wrote:

then forget about prostitutes and focus on trying to win yet another election.

That seems to be what all the parties are trying to do with this situation (and, by extension, society as a whole).  I'm surprised at how little news coverage this gets. 

There's a more recent study here, but it doesn't involve the political parties.  Like most of the studies, it points out pluses and minuses of different approaches, and comes to no actual conclusion.  There's a document on the legalities (IE, federal vs. provincial jurisdiction) of the issue.  I found a private members bill from a BQ member for decriminalization (initially 2002, then reintroduced in 2004), but it only got to first reading, so I couldn't see what the parties had to say on it.

Mórríghain

Why should there be more media coverage, what is there to cover? For the commercial press prostitution is a boring subject (barring horrific stories) unless its being scandalized or there's something significant going on such as the Supreme Court decision. Ice storms, polar vortexes, Rob Ford or drunken celebs all sell more newspapers or attract more viewers than the mundane repetitiveness of commercial sex. Unless you're involved prostitution is just not very interesting. When a politico says something about the biz there's a ripple on the water but otherwise.... A couple of Sun News talking heads like to rail on about the sex trade but even at their bunker every prostitution story results in the same old same old.

fortunate

Mórríghain wrote:

Why should there be more media coverage, what is there to cover? For the commercial press prostitution is a boring subject (barring horrific stories) unless its being scandalized or there's something significant going on such as the Supreme Court decision. Ice storms, polar vortexes, Rob Ford or drunken celebs all sell more newspapers or attract more viewers than the mundane repetitiveness of commercial sex. Unless you're involved prostitution is just not very interesting. When a politico says something about the biz there's a ripple on the water but otherwise.... A couple of Sun News talking heads like to rail on about the sex trade but even at their bunker every prostitution story results in the same old same old.

 

 

True, i find they have to sensationalize it in order to make it lure in readers (as in lurid pics and words lol).   

When in doubt, all political parties are most like to to form a committee and do a study, then they can say they did something.   

 

pookie

There was a panel discussion at U of T on Friday.  For coverage via twitter (including how sex workers protested one of the speakers, Kim Pate), check out Brenda Cossman and Kyle Kirkup's twitter feeds.

@BrendaCossman

@kylekirkup

lagatta

Are the sex workers protesting Ms Pate because she heads the Elizabeth Fry societies, a member of the abolitionist coalition? Or for some specific reason? Are they trying to silence anyone who has a different viewpoint about the sex trade?

pookie

They were protesting her support of the Nordic model.  They did not heckle her. Some stood up and turned their backs.  Others held up signs reading "I am not your rescue project."  There were people there who respect and admire Kim, who said they found the protest stayed within appropriate bounds of discourse.  

Unionist

Is there no video of the event? I don't mind following unfolding events on twitter, but even then...

pookie

Unionst, I understand they will be posting a podcast or video, but not sure when.

 

Unionist

Thanks, pookie.

Meanwhile, I broke my own twitter "rule" and have discovered #afterbedford. Good stuff!

Also, very happy to see theCourt.ca involved in sponsoring these discussions (the next one, anyway). I love that site - have followed it for years. If it's no good, please don't tell me - I couldn't take the disappointment lol!

 

pookie

theCourt.ca can be very good.  it faces the same problem of all legal blogs - getting regular content of a sufficient quality.  

fortunate

Unionist wrote:

Thanks, pookie.

Meanwhile, I broke my own twitter "rule" and have discovered #afterbedford. Good stuff!

Also, very happy to see theCourt.ca involved in sponsoring these discussions (the next one, anyway). I love that site - have followed it for years. If it's no good, please don't tell me - I couldn't take the disappointment lol!

 

 

 

If your twitter rule is to not get sucked into twitter, i"m with you on that one lol.    It seems all hash tags and short comments, hard to follow some of them.   

 

 

fortunate

pookie wrote:

They were protesting her support of the Nordic model.  They did not heckle her. Some stood up and turned their backs.  Others held up signs reading "I am not your rescue project."  There were people there who respect and admire Kim, who said they found the protest stayed within appropriate bounds of discourse.  

 

 

This is the link to the event

 

http://www.law.utoronto.ca/events/public-forum-after-bedford-v-canada-wh...

 

I can see their reasoning for including the abolitionist view point considering the description of the event.  What they might not have realized is the event was broadcast out in the backchannels of sex worker only forums, and would be attended by many sex workers?      Probably after seeing the speaker list included her.     

 

Regarding laws, tho, i like the conclusion in this article  For all it's stereotypical assumptions that even willing sex workers are no doubt std ridden drug addicts,  I do agree with the fact that sex work can or could be licensed just the same way dancers in strip clubs are currently licensed or regulated.     It's pointed out, regulating a practice does not imply approval.        I don't think anyone requires people to approve of prostitution, but just to acknowledge that people can and do choose to provide willingly, and that it is a matter between consenting adults.     Anything non consensual or not with adults should continue to be prohibited.  

 

http://o.canada.com/news/our-overreaching-prostitution-laws-have-put-peo...

 

But what of those cases where the prostitute does choose freely, or appears to? And how to tell one from the other? Rather than simply “prosecute the johns,” a more workable approach might be a system of licensing for prostitutes. As a condition of licence, they would be required to certify their age, submit to tests for drugs (and sexually transmitted diseases), and work in licensed premises. Prosecution might then be reserved for johns who patronized unlicensed prostitutes.

If that makes you uneasy, it is the approach we take now to strip clubs, which remain no less sleazy and disreputable for it. Regulating a practice does not imply approval, or even indifference. It suggests only that there are other and better means of addressing social ills of this kind than the criminal law — especially where there is evidence that criminalization is itself a big part of the problem, as we have lately been coming to realize with respect to drugs.

 

 

 

Here is another hashtag for Unionist :)

#sexwork

mark_alfred

Article on CBC about it. 

Peter MacKay wrote:
We believe that prostitution is intrinsically degrading and harmful to vulnerable persons, especially women and we intend to protect women and protect society generally from exploitation and abuse.

Françoise Boivin wrote:
It's going to derail a bit (the government's) agenda for the year, especially because prostitution's got a deadline. So we have 12 months. If all parties dreaded the moment that they would have to stand on the issue one way or the other, well the moment is now.

Caissa

Where did MacKay get the class analysis?Wink

fortunate

mark_alfred wrote:

Article on CBC about it. 

Peter MacKay wrote:
We believe that prostitution is intrinsically degrading and harmful to vulnerable persons, especially women and we intend to protect women and protect society generally from exploitation and abuse.

Françoise Boivin wrote:
It's going to derail a bit (the government's) agenda for the year, especially because prostitution's got a deadline. So we have 12 months. If all parties dreaded the moment that they would have to stand on the issue one way or the other, well the moment is now.

 

 

 

How do they plan to do this, exactly?   Protect others from coming in contact with the sex workers who are out to exploit them?  

 

It tends to be a circular argument.   You can say you are against something that people do willingly, for the most part, and then dismiss their choice by saying they are incapable of making that choice in the first place.  so you are likely to alienate the 90% who work indoors, and vote, and the people who seek their services,,and the people who are OK with that, as long as they are willing.  It becomes a smaller and smaller percent of the population who will agree to this approach, i think.  

i think they are accustomed to sex workers just hiding away and doing it anyway, any laws won't change really what happens or will happen.    The overturned laws were meant to stop all street work, and of course they failed to do that.    any new laws will still be designed to prevent street work, regardless of what anyone tells you they are for.    And they will continue to fail to stop it.

 

Even NZ thought the regulation and decriminalization would stop street work, and they were wrong about that as well.   

 

Recently, in Regina, the police did focus on indoor workers.  They claimed it is to find pimps, forced, underagers, and sure enough they will find one or two underagers.  but they also book appointments for sex workers to come to a hotel room, and then shake her down in a way to attempt to get her to leave town.

 

Under the current laws, being a sex worker and doing an outcall, to go to the client, is completely legal.   These guys were going to take sex workers who showed up who are of age, and not working illegally (as in they are not visiting on student/travel visas)  and doing something completely legal, even in Regina, to the police station to run a criminal background checks.   Something they certainly did not have to take her to the station to do, and something that shouldn't even be an issue, for what it was they set her up to do:  a completely legal act of prostitution done in a completely legal way, i.e. outcall.    

 

In St. John, New Brunswick, they do not plan to charge or pursue anyone under the still existing laws.    

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/prostitutes-johns-won-t-be-c...

 

So maybe the municipalites can't all be trusted to actually follow the laws as they currently exist or will exist in the future

mark_alfred

I agree it's a circular argument, and when looked at you would think that it should become "a smaller and smaller percent of the population who will agree to this approach", but people are odd.  I'm reminded of the Simpsons episode Bart After Dark.

Good for St. John.  I suspect things will be fine there.

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