Friday, December 3, 2010

Domme v. Harper?

"Dragging their heels on reform." I hope they're 6-inch stilettos.....

Fight like a man': Dominatrix to Harper

Updated: Thu. Dec. 2 2010 8:52 PM ET
Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford, one of the three sex-trade workers whose court challenge struck down three key prostitution laws, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to stop hiding behind the courts and "fight like a man."
"He can withdraw this appeal at any moment and change the law through Parliament," she said.
"His silence means that he does not know what to do, and is not concerned about, the violence against women."
Bedford made the comments after the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Ontario's prostitution laws will remain in effect while government lawyers mount an appeal to a landmark ruling that essentially decriminalized prostitution.
Harper initially responded with a laugh to the challenge.
"I've never been called upon to respond to a dominatrix before," he deadpanned.
But he responded seriously, saying the government would continue to fight the appeal.
"We believe that the prostitution trade is bad for society," Harper said. "That's a strong view held by our government, and I think by most Canadians."
The decision
The appeal court was considering whether to strike down a decision from September, when an Ontario Superior Court judge struck down laws against keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of prostitution.
The September decision was subject to a temporary stay, meaning the laws remained on the books.
With Thursday's ruling that stay is extended until April 29, putting pressure on the government to expedite the appeal process.
Lawyer Alan Young, who represents the group of sex-trade workers led by Bedford, said the judge told the court he was concerned that a "regulatory void" would exist if the current laws were struck down.
Young maintains the current laws jeopardize the safety of sex workers and should be taken off the books as soon as possible.
"My position has always been that the security of a vulnerable population must be protected at any cost and that we don't need to maintain a law which isn't enforced on a frequent basis."
Prostitution is not illegal in Canada, but nearly everything associated with it is.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson responded to the decision Thursday, saying he was pleased with the ruling.
"It is the position of the Government of Canada that these provisions are constitutionally sound," Nicholson said in a release.
"The provisions denounce and deter the most harmful and public aspects of prostitution. They also ensure that the police have the tools necessary to continue to address the significant harms that flow from prostitution, both to communities and to the prostitutes themselves, along with other vulnerable persons."

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