Is this the dawning of a new and more liberal and safer era? Probably not



OTTAWA — Applause erupted outside Canada’s highest court Friday as sex workers learned that Canada’s top judges had struck down prostitution laws as unconstitutional. The ruling means legal brothels could be a reality in Canada by next Christmas.

However, the ruling got a quick rebuke from the ruling Conservative Party, with one minister calling it “a blow to women’s safety and equality.”

In a unanimous ruling, the nine Supreme Court judges – six of them men – found prostitution laws violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They gave Parliament a year fix them if it wishes to continue to impose limits on the sex trade.

What, you mean Canada could actually become a grown up country and move past the puritanical hypocrisy that has kept street prostitution  laws virtually unchanged since, like, forever? How could that be?. And you can be goddamn sure that a ruling party that finds a huge support base in the Bible Belt has its way, the advice of the Supreme Court will go unheeded. Lord protect us from such vile smut. Right? Think of the Good Book and protect the children.

Oh, and ignore that Mary Magdalene, slut, OK?

I have a couple of valued and terribly smart friends who mounted a most sincere campaign a few years ago to force the legalization of brothels in the fine city of Victoria. Their motivation was to protect the well-being of street hookers in that august city in which hypocrisy is alive and well. They even made an excellent documentary called The Brothel Project. Check it out on YouTube. Anyway, these dedicated people hit a brick wall of nonsense and lame excuses basically all based on a puritan ethic that seems to hold that sex must not be for sale.

Prostitutes have, of course always been with us, much as has the desire to have sex always been with us. And some people are not partnered, and some other people (to be candid) like the illicit nature of the offerings. Some cultures (more enlightened than ours, like Nevada, for example) have recognized the demand is there so if you get it out of the greasy hands of the pimps and drug dealers who control the trade in our society especially, then the well-being of the women who have ‘chosen’ a lifestyle is much more assured. I have a bright and very sensible friend who suggests a visit to a prostitute should be no different in essence than a hairdressing appointment. Indeed so.

I find it odd that here in Canada we permit escort services which are, for all intents and purposes, purveyors of prostitution and that seems to be OK. It’s OK because it’s steeped in euphemism. A man buys the ‘time’ of a young lady and the concept is that however that time is used is up to the contractee and contractor and it all takes place in a safe environment. And indeed there might be some chaps who want the company of the lady to go to a movie or go out for a meal. But probably not, in most cases. And when he asks her, he makes the deal and therefore she is not soliciting (which is the illegal part). It’s not against the law for her to turn the trick. I wrote a series of articles about the escort biz a few years ago, and I am not going to reveal any other reason I know about this stuff – OK?

The virtue of the escort biz is that it does away with the parasites of street prostitution – the pimps, creeps who live off the avails, as it were and basically ‘own’ the hooker, putting her life at risk.

No, prostitution is not a particularly ideal calling in life, and it’s not much to be admired as a career plan. Although I do know one woman who worked her way through college, as it were, by turning tricks and wasn’t ashamed of the fact. She earned a lot more than she would have working in a fast-food joint.

About this all, I also have never understood the idea of arresting women for solicitation. At the same time I’ll gladly back any directive to ‘bust the johns’.

Will this change come to pass? Well, in the best of all possible worlds it will – along with the universal brotherhood of humanity, equal distribution of wealth, the end of bigotry and a new society devoted to the protection of the environment.

I hope I’m wrong in my scepticism here.


8 responses to “Is this the dawning of a new and more liberal and safer era? Probably not

  1. I wrote for a woman who had been an escort in Canada. She eventually left the States and returned to Canada, because most people down here refused to see her as anything but a former whore. Made me sad to lose the gig, but more it made me angry that she was treated so badly here. I’m sorry to hear that Canada has this issue with prostitutes v. escorts.

    • The religious right in both countries find the concept of selling sex to be repugnant. That’s despite the fact a lot of them buy it. The city council dork who expressed the strongest objections to licensing an escort agency in this town was one of the first customers once the place opened.

  2. France is about to pass legislation to fine the customers….well it might except that the legislators are not too keen for some reason….

  3. Gee, I wonder why, Helen? I’ve always maintained if you are going to make arrests, then arrest the clientele.

  4. Hypocrisy indeed. Harper and his cronies will find a way to block this. There will be prostitution as long as there are men buying sex (and we all know there are lots of upstanding members of the community who use prostitutes’ services). Apparently, that’s ok though…

  5. I am surprised how few women are prepared to speak up for the rights of street workers. That they should want improved safety to work is understandable for any worker, in fact for most of us WCB makes sure that is the case. The proposed changes would make life so much better for sex workers, and would not ‘inconvenience’ anyone.t

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