rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Bill C-36 passes in the House of Commons

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

The Conservative government's prostitution bill -- Bill C-36 -- passed in the House of Commons Monday night by a 156-124 vote.

In 2007, a case challenging Canada's prostitution laws as unconstitutional resulted in the Supreme Court of Canada throwing out the laws criminalizing pimping, communicating for the purposes of prostitution, and running a brothel. The federal government was therefore tasked with coming up with new laws.

The new legislation, brought forth in June by Justice Minister Peter McKay, explicitly names pimps and johns as exploiters, criminalizing the purchase of sex while decriminalizing prostituted women.

The bill states that the Parliament of Canada "has grave concerns about the exploitation that is inherent in prostitution and the risks of violence posed to those who engage in it" and "recognizes the social harm caused by the objectification of the human body and the commodification of sexual activity."

The intention behind this kind of legislation is to work towards an eventual end to prostitution and follows in the footsteps of countries like Sweden, Norway, and Iceland. The EU passed a resolution last year encouraging member states to "reevaluate their policies on sex work," with the Nordic model as a framework.

That this legislation was considered and then adopted by the Canadian government in its current form is thanks, in large part, to feminists across the country who worked tirelessly on the issue, ensuring a feminist analysis was central to the legislation and bringing forth research, studies, analysis, evidence from the front line, and testimonies of their own experiences working in the sex industry.

The bill must now pass the Senate before being proclaimed into law. The stay in the Bedford decision expires December 20.

The legislation represents a new approach to prostitution that says men do not have the right to access women's bodies, women deserve more than prostitution, prostitution does not promote gender equality, and that we can do better for women in Canada.

Congratulations, brothers and sisters. Onwards to the Senate.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.