MacKay Debates Trudeau Over Sex Worker Policy Neither Holds


The Conservative Government is now attacking Justin Trudeau for a policy that he doesn’t hold, instead opting for a policy that they don’t have.

In one ham-fistedly-worded Tweet today, Justice Minister Peter MacKay decried the Liberal leader’s position on the regulation of prostitution.  Supposedly, the Grit wants to legalize the world’s oldest profession.



Well, no.

A cabal of BC Liberals are proposing the policy at the party’s convention, but all signals thus far from the third party leadership have been in favour of re-criminalizing prostitution, probably by way of the Nordic Model — go after the johns, not the workers themselves.

Surreal, too, is that MacKay has yet to come out in favour of any policy when it comes to sex work.  His government have wrung their hands firmly and said they’d look into it — ignoring, of course, that Parliament has already submitted a sex work report under Harper’s reign that was deafeningly ignored.

In the end, the likely scenario appears to be that both parties will end up supporting the same policy.

Two blind boxers, fighting with their hands tied behind their backs.

And then there’s the grand irony of MacKay admonishing any policy as dangerous, seeing as the courts slammed the existing regulations that Ottawa so rigorously defended as absolutely risky for sex workers.



Harper government’s antipathy to harm reduction will harm progress made by sex workers

Common Bawdypolitic


“The prohibitions at issue do not merely impose conditions on how prostitutes operate. They go a critical step further, by imposing dangerous conditions on prostitution; they prevent people engaged in a risky — but legal — activity from taking steps to protect themselves from the risks,” wrote Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin for the unanimous court.

Unless MacKay is referring to the risks of arthritis that legal prostitution could have on the pearl-clutching hands of elderly women, his pot is perhaps not one to be calling the kettle black.

The Justice Ministry has had some problem telling real from the fictitious of late, as they recently began advertising a law that does not yet exist.

But perhaps the Tories have had the good sense to write up a thoughtful set of regulations that does not borrow too heavily from the oft-chided Nordic Model that hasn’t exactly been an unmitigated success in its varying application through Scandinavia.  Maybe, just maybe, they’ve got some good ideas.

If they would like to share them, I am still waiting, seven months on, for Peter MacKay to return my phonecalls.


Other columns by Justin Ling

Harper and the liberal journalists of Sparks Street

It’s time for the Toronto Star to get back to journalism

Green With Fundraising Envy

Flaherty’s Last Act

Follow Justin Ling on twitter: @Justin_Ling


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