What really bugs Conservatives about the Supreme Court prostitution ruling

Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court today delivered a landmark ruling on prostitution. My colleague Daniel Proussalidis has the news here and Justice Minister Peter MacKay has released a statement in response.

Another colleague this morning remarked that reaction among those who vote for candidates of MacKay’s party, i.e. The Conservative Party of Canada, is likely to be mixed: The libertarian set will see nothing wrong at all with what the Court is saying. The social conservatives, on the other hand, will be terribly distressed.

But both libertarians and social conservatives are likely to be upset at the fact that these decisions — landmark decisions — are not being made by any legislature or by any government that must regularly defend its decisions to voters, but instead are being made by judges.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney was asked about this decision at a press conference he gave in Calgary on another matter hours after the release of the court ruling. Kenney sums up this ‘conservative’ objection: “I think that in our system of government there is an understandable primacy of Parliament as the democratic deliberative process and that my own view is that the judiciary should be restrained at the exercise of judicial power in overturning a democratic consensus. Having said that, we of course respect the independence of the judiciary and its role. We will review the decision and determine what is the necessary next step to ensure the protection of vulnerable women from sexual exploitation.”

Maclean’s political editor Paul Wells talks about what Kenney is getting at in his book The Longer I’m Prime Minister and while I’m going to quote a big chunk from that book here on this topic, there is more in the book … Continue reading What really bugs Conservatives about the Supreme Court prostitution ruling

NDP Convention: 6-31-13 Resolution on Upholding Sex Workers’ Rights to Life, Liberty, Security, and Equality

6-31-13 Resolution on Upholding Sex Workers’ Rights to Life, Liberty, Security, and Equality

Submitted by Vancouver East

WHEREAS Canadian values include respect for human and labour rights of all persons, including the right to life, liberty, security, equality and freedom of expression and association as set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

WHEREAS Canadian courts, the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws and the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry concluded that criminalization of sex workers increases the violence perpetrated against them and decreases their access to police and other legal and social protections.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT we, the NDP, support the repeal of sections 210, 211, 212(1),

212(3), and 213 of the Criminal Code of Canada in order to improve the health, safety, equality and social citizenship of sex workers.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT we, the NDP, do not support the enactment of legislation that prohibits the purchase or sale of sexual services or sex workers’ ability to work with others.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT while the prostitution laws remain in force, we, the NDP, call on all Canadian police departments to immediately halt enforcement of ss. 211, 212(1), 212(3), and 213 and, instead, ensure sex workers have equal access to police protection and the justice system when they are the victims of crime.

NDP MP Libby Davies moved a motion to defer this motion for more study by federal council.

Davies motion to defer was passed.