Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I must admit that I am very surprised. I thought the Minister of Justice was very clear. The government's long-term goal was to abolish prostitution. The government also wanted to prohibit the purchase of sexual services, pimping, and so on. The whole point of my amendments is to clarify the government's true intention for its bill.
Since the members are rejecting my amendments, I am now sure that this bill will be struck down by the Supreme Court. I am very sure of that and I will tell you why.
In its Bedford decision, the Supreme Court worked from the premise that prostitution is legal in Canada. This means that, as legislators, we don't have the right to prohibit and criminalize the practice of a legal activity because that practice endangers those involved in it.
However, the Supreme Court never forbade us, as legislators, to change the framework of that activity. What does “change the framework” mean? It means to clearly establish that prostitution is illegal in Canada—that the government prohibits and denounces the practice of prostitution. Starting from that premise, we can criminalize the purchase of sexual services, pimping and all practices surrounding prostitution.
I am now convinced that this bill will be challenged—that much is obvious—and that it will not pass the test of the Supreme Court because you took up the same principle. You did not prohibit prostitution, but you did criminalize related practices. So we are going back to the beginning, and that's too bad because criminalizing the purchase of sexual services was a very good step. I'm sure that we will be having this same discussion here, in this House of Commons, in a few years.