Canada Preparing to Legalize Prostitution?

Fri Feb 25, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST

OTTAWA, February 25, 2005 ( – At the Federal Liberals’ national convention in March, party members will be asked to support the introduction of legislation to legalize prostitution legal in Canada. If passed by the 2,000 delegates meeting from across Canada, the party would ask Parliament to remove section 213 of the Criminal Code, which currently prohibits the activity.

National director of Young Liberals Denise Brunsdon said the issue is a priority on the convention agenda. “This is one of the few resolutions brought forward by the national executive themselves,” Brunsdon told the Ottawa Citizen. 

Introduced as a private members bill by Vancouver East NDP Libby Davies, the measure is now the focus of a standing committee on justice sub-committee, comprised of Davies, Vancouver Centre Liberal Hedy Fry, Trois-Rivières Bloc Québécois member Paule Brunelle, and Calgary Northeast Conservative Art Hanger. The chairman of the Committee is Welland Liberal John Maloney. 

“It’s a great idea,” said Liberal Senator Mac Harb, a long-time supporter of legalized prostitution, as reported by the Toronto Sun. As a former Ottawa centre MP, Harb tabled a similar private members bill in 2000. “The upcoming convention will be debating it and I presume it will receive substantial support from the delegates,” Harb said Wednesday. “It’s my hope the resolution will pass.” 

Harb said that after prostitution is legal, it would then be up to cities to set up red-light districts or brothels. Harb commended Amsterdam’s red light district as a great tourist attraction. “Other jurisdictions have done it very successfully – Amsterdam is a case in point,” he said. “It is a major tourist attraction there, and it works.” 

REAL Women of Canada (RWC), meanwhile, warned that legalization creates legitimacy and legitimacy leads to increased usage of prostitution. Legalized prostitution does not stop illegal prostitution, but allows it to continue to operate, they said. 

“In fact, experience in other countries indicates that the result of legalizing prostitution has been that all forms of prostitution boomed, with unregulated prostitution increasing faster than legal prostitution activities,” a RWC press release pointed out. 

RWC also warned that red light districts often become centres for drug trafficking and other crimes because police make few checks of legal brothels, with the result that they quickly become ideal locations for drug connections. 

“Posing as clients, drug dealers thrive, completely assured of privacy for their transactions.” 

REAL Women is encouraging all concerned citizens to consider appearing before the Committee, either in Ottawa or in one of the cities nearest you. 

The Committee will cover your expenses - travel, hotel, meals, etc. - if you are accepted as a witness. The committee will hold regional meetings throughout Canada beginning March 15. 

To write, fax or email to request an appearance before the Committee:  Mr. Marc-Olivier Girard Committee Clerk, Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws of the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety And Emergency Preparedness Room 621,180 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Telephone: 613-944-5635 Fax: (613) 992-9069 E-mail: [email protected]   tv

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