Mr. Speaker, the debate surrounding Bill C-36 is really not that simple. Nevertheless, we can and should make it simpler, by focusing carefully. With that in mind, I would like to start by making certain things very clear.
Bill C-36 does not address the issue of human trafficking. The Bedford decision, handed down by the Supreme Court of Canada in December 2013, focused on three specific provisions of the Criminal Code, namely sections 210, 212 and 213. Those three sections of the Criminal Code are found in part VII, titled “Disorderly Houses, Gaming and Betting”. Human trafficking is not even covered in part VIII, titled “Offences Against the Person and Reputation”.
I wholeheartedly agree with the member for Kildonan—St. Paul when it comes to the issues regarding sexual exploitation and human trafficking. I even supported legislation in this area when it was being studied by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, since I was actually a member of that committee.
However, it is important to not confuse the issue. Yes, people—especially people who want to abolish prostitution in Canada—sometimes call on us to prohibit the purchase of such services. There is a certain logic behind that. I see where the government is headed. However, it is also important that they stop trying to fool us and stop pretending that they are fixing every problem on the planet. The government is following a certain logic by saying that if we prevent the sale of such services by making it an offence, then there will be no sexual exploitation or prostitution.
I would like to come back to the Bedford decision, which is important, because the Conservatives are claiming that Bill C-36 responds to the concerns raised in that case. Bill C-36 is 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. The Bedford case was about three prostitutes, or former prostitutes, who argued that the three provisions I mentioned earlier should be struck down. Those provisions were in part VII of the Criminal Code, under “Disorderly Houses, Gaming and Betting”, which criminalizes various prostitution-related activities.