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The worst approach

June 5th, 2014 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Work

At the end of last year the federal Conservative government faced a challenge – the Supreme Court had decided that the way prostitution were being ‘managed’ was unconstitutional, and the government had to draft a new bill.

They worked for months, consulting the public and experts, looking at how other governments had handled the issues.

This week they presented that new bill, which seems almost written to lose the next court challenge. Bill C-36 is titled The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.

The law that was struck down by the Supreme Court didn’t make prostitution illegal, it made certain things about prostitution illegal. The new law essentially makes prostitution illegal. It makes it illegal to buy sex or communicate about buying sex in a public place. This puts johns in a bad position and put sex workers in more danger, not less, which one would have thought would be one goal of the bill.

The fact is, illegal or not, prostitution and sex work will continue to exist. A lot of people tend to view sex workers as victims, which is true in some cases but certainly not all.

Some reactions:

Brenda Cossman, law professor, U of T: I can’t actually think of a worse approach

Emmett Macfarlane, political scientist: The new prostitution bill is terrible 

John Ivison, columnist for the National Post: Peter Mackay’s new prostitution law a failure on all counts

Kyle Kirkup, Trudeau scholar, University of Toronto Law: New prostitution law, same old harms to sex workers

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