Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Peter MacKay  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to, among other things,

(a) create an offence that prohibits purchasing sexual services or communicating in any place for that purpose;

(b) create an offence that prohibits receiving a material benefit that derived from the commission of an offence referred to in paragraph (a);

(c) create an offence that prohibits the advertisement of sexual services offered for sale and to authorize the courts to order the seizure of materials containing such advertisements and their removal from the Internet;

(d) modernize the offence that prohibits the procurement of persons for the purpose of prostitution;

(e) create an offence that prohibits communicating — for the purpose of selling sexual services — in a public place, or in any place open to public view, that is or is next to a school ground, playground or daycare centre;

(f) ensure consistency between prostitution offences and the existing human trafficking offences; and

(g) specify that, for the purposes of certain offences, a weapon includes any thing used, designed to be use or intended for use in binding or tying up a person against their will.

The enactment also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Oct. 6, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Sept. 29, 2014 Passed That Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.
Sept. 29, 2014 Failed That Bill C-36 be amended by deleting the long title.
Sept. 25, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
June 16, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
June 12, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:25 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, of course I am aware of amendments that were passed. In the judgment of many within the legal profession, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association among others, while this change would narrow the scope, it remains a section of the law that would clearly not survive a charter challenge.

The use of daycares and preschools and so on is designed to create electioneering and slogans and does not pay attention to ensuring that the laws we pass in this place are constitutional.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my Green Party colleague.

I am very happy to be part of the committee that studied Bill C-36 very closely. Several amendments were proposed, and many of them were ruled in order.

There was a debate about the amendments. Clearly, the government had no interest in accepting them, but the resulting debates were interesting. With a little good will, committee members could have mitigated the potentially negative impact of the bill as written by the government.

At the beginning of her speech, my colleague from the Green Party said that she thought the minister would have presented something that would have been in answer to the Bedford ruling, so I would like to ask the hon. member what, in her opinion, would have been the proper answer to that ruling.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:30 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. justice critic for the official opposition, who has done such strong work in so many areas of law in the country.

I and the Green Party think the kind of law we need is probably found most closely in the New Zealand law. I expected, by the way, to see something closer to what is described as the Nordic model. I did not expect to see so many areas in Bill C-36 that would criminalize behaviour in ways that would increase the risk for people in the sex trade industry.

However, having studied the Nordic model and the New Zealand model, we prefer the law that goes furthest in ensuring that the activities in the sex trade industry lose their stigma. We should be able to say that someone in the sex trade industry or someone who works for them—in, for example, security or scheduling or health care—is not stigmatized. Then we can concentrate on people who are in the sex trade because of addiction problems, or on those under 19, or on foreign workers. God help us; what a horrific case there is of sex trafficking and human trafficking. We should focus on those and eliminate them.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I was a participant in the justice committee hearings on the bill over the summer, when we heard from over 60 witnesses.

There was a consensus on three points. One was that the $20 million that has been set aside for an exit program was inadequate. The second was that all of those who were trained in the law, except for the Minister of Justice and those in his employ, felt that all or some of the bill was unconstitutional. The third point was that those involved in the sex trade should not be criminalized. Probably the best suggestion we heard during the course of the testimony was that those who are carrying a criminal record as a result of the unconstitutional law should be given an immunity.

My question for the member is this: what does she think of that immunity suggestion, which was rejected by the Conservatives? Also, does she have any comments with respect to the stigmatization associated with a criminal record as a result of being in the sex trade?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:30 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, first I want to commend the hon. member for Charlottetown. I thought his speech at second reading on this bill was the best that anyone delivered in comparing the Canadian laws on prostitution with a made-in-Moscow version for Canada.

I agree that when the law is unconstitutional, we need to look at immunity. As much as all of us have our own personal views that come from our own religious or moral context or backgrounds, the bottom line is that people's lives are at risk. Who are we as Canadians to turn our backs on them?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:30 p.m.
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Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, what was just said aside, there is something that has not been adequately debated in this House, and that is using the statement “what two consenting adults do between them is not the state's concern” as an underpinning to argue that the asymmetrical criminalization that has been put forward through this bill is not an adequate response to the Bedford ruling.

That is because the concept of sexual consent is at the heart of the statement. Our Criminal Code provides a standard definition for “sex without consent” under section 273.1. Some of the provisions include:

(a) the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant; (b) the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity;

There are other provisions.

Through case law, we have seen that a sexual assault offence is established by the proof of three elements: touching, the sexual nature of the content, and the absence of consent.

Furthermore, case law has shown that the absence of consent is subjective by reference to the complainant's internal state of mind towards the touching at the time it occurred.

Beyond this criminal definition of sexual consent is the work that groups involved with prevention of sexual assault have been doing to educate the public on the relationship between knowing and celebrating one's sexuality in order to define the boundaries of consent.

I had a transformational moment last week. I had a chance to speak with Elsbeth Mehrer of the YWCA of Calgary. I asked her, “What do you define as sexual consent?” She talked about an enthusiastic response that is exhibited by both parties.

I am also very proud of the work of the University of Calgary's consent, awareness, and sexual education club. They ran a “Consent is Sweet” campaign to bring this more accurate, in my opinion, concept of sexual consent to their student body.

Since time immemorial, empowered, educated, enthusiastic sexuality, particularly female sexuality, has been written into literature, social mores, and religious practice as an evil, something to be avoided for fear of ripping the very fabric of society. It has only been in very recent decades that western culture, particularly through the feminist movement, has enshrined a new view of consent into our consciousness, yet we still struggle to protect this, from “rapey” chants at frosh week to requests for female airport security officers to be segregated. We as a culture are still challenged with the full acceptance of empowered, equitable sexuality.

Furthermore, at the heart of this new notion of sexual consent is the concept of equality, the concept that all parties are in equilibrium from a power dynamic perspective.

I feel that as such, the “what two consenting adults do” argument is flawed, as there is an overwhelming burden of proof that a large majority of sex workers are not in an equitable position.

Be it a young worker who entered into the trade before having an opportunity to define what an enthusiastic response means in terms of their own sexuality, workers who are selling out of desperation to make the rent, to support substance abuse, to support their children or any other determinant of poverty, or workers who are suffering from mental health issues, there is not equality in the power balance between the parties. In most such situations, I would argue that true sexual consent, this enthusiasm that Elsbeth speaks about and that we are striving as a culture to enshrine, is difficult to achieve.

In demonstrating this, several studies based on surveys or anecdotal evidence from sex worker advocates and service providers suggest that the prevalence of sexual assault in the sex industry is high, particularly in the case of street-level workers.

A 2005 Vancouver study said that 78% of these workers had been raped in prostitution. Studies carried in the mid-1990s by the Department of Justice showed that physical and sexual assaults on prostitutes were commonly carried out by clients, pimps, or boyfriends.

In 2003, the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault published a briefing entitled “What lies behind the hidden figure of sexual assault? Issues of prevalence and disclosure”. It discusses the notion that women working in the sex industry are at a greater risk of sexual violence. The paper also briefly provides information about the treatment of sex workers by the courts and the judiciary in sexual assault cases.

We know that sexual assault is under-reported in general, I believe even more so in the case of sex workers. One of the issues raised in response to sex workers not reporting sexual assault is that they are afraid of being charged with prostitution-related offences as a result of making a statement. They also indicate that being exposed as a sex worker to friends and family is another reason to not report the incident to the police.

When we look at case law, defence strategies generally consist of attacking the credibility of the victim. I looked at some case law involving prostitutes, from 2004 to 2014, and these were some of the defence strategies:

The complainant consented on previous and future occasions.

The complainant is a drug addict and was under the influence when the sexual activities took place, suffers from depression, or cannot recollect the events due to memory lapses.

The complainant continued to work as a prostitute for many years after the event; therefore, she consented to the activity and was not traumatized.

How do these defences demonstrate our culture's acceptance of the value of full, enthusiastic, empowered sexual consent?

In the research completed for me by the Library of Parliament, several court cases showed the difficulty of defining consent in the context of case work. In R. v. House, R. v. Dyck, R. v. Lumsden, and R. v. Jakeer, the courts noticed that sex workers are particularly vulnerable and are entitled to the full measure of protection of the law, as is any other person. The review of cases tended to show that there was no general trend of the judicial interpretation of consent by sex workers. In this context, it seems that the consent of prostitutes is determined by the courts on a case-by-case basis.

I would like to read part of a ruling from the Ontario Court of Justice in relation to sexual assault with a sex worker.

In the circumstances of this case, although I am prepared to accept that she may have had grave misgivings and was in fact not consenting; her words and actions were such that a reasonable person might have an honest but mistaken belief as to her consent. She got into the car, asked for the money agreed upon and then apparently willingly complied with the sexual requests of these young men. I do not agree with the Crown's submission that the young men had any obligation to ask her if she was consenting to sexual contact when they entered the car. It was reasonable for them to assume that she was consenting when she met them with a request for the $30 fee before engaging in sexual activity and never by word or action indicated that she was not consenting to continue. Surely it is not the law that a client of a prostitute has to continually ask whether the acts engaged in are consensual....

I wish I had time to read this whole ruling because given rulings like this, websites which rate sex workers include comments like, “She didn't look at me when we were doing it”. “She cried a bit halfway through”.

I am not of the view that any person has a God-given right to have access to the purchase of sex or that the purchase of sex should in and of itself define sexual consent. To protect sex workers in this country, we need to stop and acknowledge that this is a fundamental flaw in any argument for the legalization of prostitution. By legalizing prostitution, we would degrade a hard-fought cultural understanding of the worth of humans and our sexuality, and make it harder for the victims of sexual assault, even those who are sex workers, to seek recompense and heal.

However, this is not to say that sex workers are in every instance incapable of giving consent. In contrast, by adopting Bill C-36 and the related funding we have announced, our country acknowledges we have the right to consent over what we choose to do with our bodies but that the burden of proof is overwhelming and shows that the majority of sex workers are degraded, assaulted, and abused. As such, we as a society and a nation recognize that the purchase of sexual services is an action we believe is criminal.

In the committee hearings, one of the witnesses spoke to the asymmetrical provisions and asked where it is that you can purchase something legally but not buy it legally, and why don't we do that with booze?

Well, a bottle of booze is not a human being. I believe that in order for us to show that we as a country have moved beyond a very limited range of sexual consent and that we as a culture believe in an empowered, willing, enthusiastic sexual consent definition, this proposed law needs to be adopted.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague across the way.

I would like to get some answers to some very specific questions. On the one hand, I would like to know whether the member thinks that this is a way to make prostitution illegal. Is prostitution illegal in Canada? If the answer is yes, she no longer has to answer the rest of my questions. If the answer is no, without hearing any comparisons to alcohol, I am still trying to understand how purchasing something can be a crime but selling it is not.

While keeping in mind the current Criminal Code provisions on human trafficking and exploitation, which still exist without the three small clauses in question that were addressed by the Supreme Court of Canada, if the police have not been capable of doing the job when it comes to the exploitation of women who are in this business against their will, why does the member think that sex workers will be any safer with Bill C-36? Does she agree with the $20 million sum, when everyone else is saying that that is completely ridiculous?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for this question because I think it is at the heart of this debate. How can that asymmetry protect sex workers, and why have we approached it? It is as simple as this: the Criminal Code in Canada is a statement of what behaviour we in this country believe is acceptable and what we think is criminal.

Given the burden of proof that shows sex workers are for the most part subjected to abuse, sexual assault, and so on, we are acknowledging that the purchase of sexual services is a determinant to the outcome we do not want to see happen. Therefore, we are putting that into law. We are saying, as a country, that the action of purchasing sexual services is not acceptable and is a determinant to causing abuse.

On the other hand, we acknowledge that humans have a right to choose what they will do with their body. Through social programming, we support people exiting the trade.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, one of the things the minister said was an impediment to those involved in the sex trade reporting sexual assaults is the fear of being charged with a prostitution-related offence. This bill would not fix that. Those involved in the sex trade would still be subject to criminal prosecution and to a criminal record for communicating in certain circumstances.

Given that is one of the concerns that the minister has, would she agree with all of the evidence we heard at committee with respect to the criminalization of those in the trade?

I would also repeat the question offered by the member for Gatineau with respect to the adequacy of the $20 million that has been set aside for exit programs. What are the minister's views on that?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, again, the point I was trying to make in my speech was that we have difficulty both in getting sex workers to report incidents of sexual assault and then convictions.

We need to say there is an issue in obtaining consent in a sex trade transaction. Boundaries can be broken quite easily, and then the person who is being assaulted is in the position of trying to show the burden of proof that this did occur.

By saying that we as a country do not support the purchase of sexual services and it is illegal, we are going to help raise awareness that sexual assault does occur in these situations. That was the point I was trying to make in my speech.

With regard to social programming, I fully believe that in order to assist sex workers who find themselves in the trade out of desperation or poverty that we have an onus as parliamentarians to ensure there is adequate programming available. It is not just about the $20 million; it is also about the myriad of other support services that we fund through government. We have increased transfer payments to the provinces for education and health care to record levels. We have all sorts of different employment services. I could speak at length just on that. Do we need to ensure that they are adequate and working? Yes, we do.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, some moments in our careers take on a certain importance because of the wide-reaching consequences of the decision we have to make. Since Bill C-36 was introduced, and in fact since the Supreme Court rendered its decision in the Bedford case, we knew that something was coming. I believe that everyone with an interest in this issue, on both sides, was contacted for consultation purposes. Whether it was stakeholders at all levels, sex trade workers, feminist groups that are opposed to the sex trade, or legal and constitutional experts, we met with almost everyone in Canada.

The approach I recommended on behalf of the NDP was to be as open-minded as possible. Everyone has their own perceptions and experiences, everyone was raised in a certain way, and so on. We are therefore trying not to let those views take on a life of their own and influence us. I was hoping that the government would do the same, because obviously, that is what I would expect from any justice minister and attorney general of Canada. That office holder has an obligation to introduce constitutional laws. We all know that law is not an exact science, so I am not asking for a 100% guarantee. However, some things hit us right between the eyes and make us realize that a particularly obvious problem is being created.

In any case, it has become quite obvious. The minister, who spoke just before me, mentioned $20 million in social transfers. For me, such transfers are an indication of good faith and a firm conviction in the measure that is being put forward. We heard from many people in committee. I counted some 75 witnesses. All of them, whether they were for or against Bill C-36, were unanimous in saying that $20 million over five years was a joke. Take for example the Manitoba justice minister. He talked about this problem in his province. We know that there is a serious problem in Manitoba with regard to forced prostitution and that it affects many aboriginal women. Poverty is a major issue here. This is an even bigger problem across the nation. Given the magnitude of the problem, $20 million over five years is a joke.

I will not get into all the arguments I will surely hear from my colleagues across the way to the effect that this is a start. If the Conservatives are serious and want as many people as possible on their side, they must show how serious they are with action. When the minister presented his bill at a press conference, it seemed like an afterthought. That really bothers me, because the Conservatives lack credibility in what they do.

Some of their other tactics also undermine their credibility and scare me even more. I am talking about online consultations. I was not born yesterday. I know that claiming to have consulted everyone around and saying that everyone agrees is the oldest trick in the book for a government that wants to get its way. The government has every right to do that, and I would even say it is a good idea. I am all for consultations. I too consulted the people of Gatineau a number of times to find what they thought of all this in order to be sure that the position of the member for Gatineau and the position of the official opposition justice critic sat well with the people she represents. Above all else, the most important thing to me is being the member for Gatineau and representing my constituents. The people told me that I was on the right track.

At committee stage, when we were studying this bill, we asked the minister if we could see the results of this grand online consultation. We knew the results were available, and we wanted to see all the details and the poll paid for by Canadian taxpayers. There was some indication that the results did not say exactly what the government was suggesting.

I will not describe the answers received, as I would be kicked out of the House of Commons. Some were simply unacceptable, such as when I was told that I would receive a response in due course. For the government, that meant when the committee finished studying the matter. The important information is conspicuous for its absence. For me, that is an indication of the government's lack of transparency on such volatile issues as safety. In fact, that is an aspect that has been virtually eliminated.

I referred to 75 witnesses, but we should not get excited and imagine that the study was uncommonly thorough. The study was done fairly quickly. In fact, it took place over a very short period of time and each intervenor had very little time. In total, five minutes were allocated for putting questions to constitutional experts, probably lawyers, who are one hundred times smarter than I am on this issue, to get a true sense of what is happening. Fortunately, we had done a large part of the work beforehand and during the study. We will continue working on this and trying to make the government understand that it is on the wrong track.

We presented amendments because that is what the job of all opposition parties, but especially that of the official opposition. As I said earlier, most of the amendments were deemed to be in order. Thus, they could have been debated and would have improved a bill that is indeed very harsh.

I was proud to propose an amendment, on behalf of the NDP, that would have prevented victims from having a criminal record. The Conservative government is always talking about sex workers as victims. If they are victims, their criminal record should be erased. Someone cannot be both a victim and a criminal. However, since there is nothing the Conservatives cannot do, they achieved the amazing feat of declaring these people to be victims and, at the same time, criminalizing them so that they are stuck with a criminal record.

Simple amendments like that would have given them the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is. They refused. Amendments to reflect what all kinds of witnesses came to tell us were refused. These witnesses told us that extreme poverty and addiction are two of the major problems that lead people into prostitution. We tried to propose an amendment.

Aside from the phrase “...in response to...Bedford...”, there is nothing to show that this bill is truly a response to what the Supreme Court told us, which is that this is a serious problem. This is nowhere to be seen in the bill's preamble. There is no mention of it. Three sections were rejected by the Supreme Court, on the grounds that they were infringing on the right to security and to life. That is not insignificant. The bill needs to be evaluated from that perspective.

I proposed an amendment on behalf of the NDP. The Conservatives claim that they are going to eradicate prostitution. There could be a study every two years. Every year, the minister would have the opportunity to share with the House the details of what was done, of what was spent by whom and so on. No, once again, transparency is noticeably absent from the Conservative ranks.

To conclude, I would simply like to point out that the government was under no obligation to come back with Bill C-36. The Supreme Court of Canada was very clear: The question under section 7 is whether anyone's life, liberty or security of the person has been denied by a law that is inherently bad; a grossly disproportionate, overboard, or arbitrary effect on one person is sufficient to establish a breach of section 7.

The Supreme Court concluded that this does not mean that Parliament is precluded from imposing limits on where and how prostitution may be conducted, as long as it does so in a way that does not infringe the constitutional rights of prostitutes. We have been told that it will infringe on their rights. It is a delicate topic, and it is up to Parliament to take the necessary steps, should it choose to do so. There is therefore no obligation.

Stop saying that the Bedford ruling is behind Bill C-36, that there was no other choice and that there had to be a full-scale study because there would have been problems otherwise. I would not want to take the blame for the consequences this bill will have on many people. Do not forget that anything labelled “human trafficking” and “exploitation” is still part of the Criminal Code, which protects women and other victims of these crimes.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 12:55 p.m.
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Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend, the NDP justice critic, for her contribution and participation in the House of Commons justice committee review over the summer.

I note that in her speech today, and at other opportunities, she mentioned that she did not understand how something could be illegal to purchase but not to sell. I would remind her that when the bill was introduced, the Minister of Justice said quite clearly that for the first time in Canada, prostitution would be made illegal by this bill.

The bill would provide an exemption to the persons who would sell their services, because, in the view of the government, we see them as primarily victims. The Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification made a good speech earlier about consent and how many people in this business were really not in a position to give consent because they were forced by their circumstances to do this.

What I want to ask her very succinctly is this. If her party were to propose a bill, would it make the purchase of sexual services of another person illegal?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find this debate somewhat uninspiring. In saying that it has created an exemption, the government is avoiding saying what it cannot legally say. It cannot legally say that prostitution is illegal in Canada. That is what I believe based on information that I myself received from some of this country's leading constitutional experts. Before I began my speech, the minister talked about how all people have the right to do what they want with their body. We subscribe to that principle with respect to abortion, the right to choose and so on. We have to apply that logic to everything, like it or not. It does not matter if it is not the way I am raising my girls. Our Constitution and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms dictate the kind of society we want. It is not up to me to tell people what to do.

When we asked them to clearly state the basis of their intent to make prostitution illegal, they objected to that kind of amendment.

If they want to know what we intend to do, I can say that we will show them when we take power in 2015.

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member for Gatineau a question about the amendments that were presented in committee. She put forward several amendments, and all but one were rejected.

My question is with respect to the only amendment that the government saw fit to accept from the official opposition over the course of the summer, and that amendment called for an automatic review of this bill after five years.

Given the numerous constitutional concerns that have been expressed, given the inevitable charter challenge that awaits, is it not really a pyrrhic victory, the passing of this amendment five years down the road? Will we not be well into the litigation process or have already passed the amendment process by the time this has any effect?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I doubt that the hon. member heard that from me. I did not leave the committee jumping for joy because one of my amendments had been adopted. I think this is the same as a rejection. What we were asking for is that this be done in the first two years. That seemed perfectly reasonable to us, especially considering that the Conservatives rejected our even more important amendment. It sought to provide members of the House with key statistics such as where the money was spent, how many people managed to get out of the trade and how many people ended up trapped in the trade, in order to see how far the government managed to get with its so-called eradication of prostitution.

I think that five years from now, we will not even see this review of the act itself, given the fact that the issue will likely end up in court. However, when we look at the Bedford case and the time it took for a final ruling by the Supreme Court, I am not sure that we will have a final ruling. However, I am sure that we will no longer have a Conservative government, and it will be part of our job at that point to review many laws to ensure that we are adhering to the principles set out in the Bedford ruling.