An Ontario court judge has ruled that Canada’s laws on prostitution will stay in force for a few more months despite a September ruling striking them down
Justice Susan Himel issued a ruling on Sept. 28 that declared several laws surrounding prostitution to be unconstitutional.
While prostitution itself is legal in Canada, keeping a common bawdy house or communicating for the purposes of prostitution are illegal. Translation, no brothels in the suburbs and no chatting up hookers on street corners.
Himel ruled that those laws put prostitutes at risk and violated their rights under the charter.
The ruling was stayed to give governments time to respond. The Harper government launched an appeal but that appeal could not be heard before the stay lapsed. On Thursday the Ontario Court of Appeal stayed the ruling until the full appeal is heard.
Terry Bedford, the dominatrix who fought and won in Himel’s court was disappointed with this latest court decision.
Bedford accused the Harper government of hiding behind the courts and said Harper should “be a man” and bring in a new law that works for prostitutes.
Speaking in Mississauga, Ont., Prime Minister Stephen Minister Harper told reporters he’s never been called upon to respond to a dominatrix before but defended the appeal.
“We believe that the prostitution trade is bad for society. That’s a strong view held by our government and I think by most Canadians,” Harper said.
In Ottawa, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said he’s confident the government’s view will prevail before the courts.
“It is the position of the Government of Canada that these provisions are constitutionally sound,” Nicholson said.
New Democrat MP Libby Davies said the government is hiding from the issue.
“The government has refused to recognize how harmful these laws are for sex workers,” Davies told QMI Agency.
Davies called for full debate on prostitution in Parliament.