william.scherk Posted October 3, 2010 Share Posted October 3, 2010 OL readers may be aware that three provisions of Canada's criminal code have just been struck down by an Ontario Superior Court Judge [Bedford v Canada]. The three laws judged unconstitutional (in Canucki parlance, 'contrary to Charter rights') cover 'Living off the avails of prostitution,' 'soliciting for the purpose of prostitution,' and 'keeping a common bawdy house.'Prostitution itself is legal in Canada, in that no law on the books prohibits anyone from paying for sex. The three criminal laws struck down, however, prohibited any public selling/soliciting, prohibited the operation of brothels (bawdy houses) and prohibited anyone profiting from prostitution. Now, we find a grand debate underway in Canada. I am interested in Objectivish takes on prostitution law, and also in any prognostications on how the laws will likely be rewritten or revised or updated. As some may be aware, two other 'moral' laws have been struck down in Canada in the past decades. The first to go were laws against abortion: there is presently no law on the books with regard to abortion. The second was marriage law (marriage is a federal concern) that made marriage unavailable to same-sex couples. In the first instance, no law concerning abortion has been able to pass Parliament, and realistically, no party can hope to pass any such law. In the second instance, the feds wrote a law that recognizes no distinction of gender, and directed the provinces to revise their statutes. As a result, abortion is entirely a matter between a woman and her doctor, and marriages are solemnized in all Canadian jurisdictions regardless of gender. What is interesting to me is that a socialist hellhole like Canada has had laws disappear, with no chance in hell that the Charter freedoms will be abridged again. The basis for the decisions on abortion and gay marriage has been the supposed balance between 'society' and the 'individual.' In each case, judgements have come down on the side of the individual. The harm caused to individuals by the laws has been judged to be much more important than any harm supposed to apply to the collective. The debate now raging has made some strange bedfellows; moralistic religious groups are making common cause with a wing of the feminist intelligentsia to demand fresh criminal law. It seems to me that once a Charter case has been decided in Canada, that is that . . . it gives me satisfaction to see individual rights trump notions of state/social interests.If an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada fails, I suspect that prostitution will become a regulated trade as with the situation in the Netherlands or New Zealand, rather than with the current Nordic model. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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