Supreme Court rules out Canada’s prostitution laws in unanimous, 9-0 decision

Present for Friday's ruling: former Madame and dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford, who has been fighting Canada's prostitution laws since 2007.

A photo of Terri-Jean Bedford

Your browser does not support frames. Click here to view the frameless video..

The Canadian Supreme Court ruled unanimously – 9-0 – on Friday to strike down the country’s prostitution laws, which include prohibitions against keeping a brothel, making a living off prostitution, and soliciting on the street.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court found that Canada’s laws against prostitution do not hold with the constitutional guarantee of life, liberty, and security of a person.

“Parliament has the power to regulate against nuisances, but not at the cost of the health, safety and lives of prostitutes,” wrote Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, “it is not a crime in Canada to sell sex for money.”

Present for Friday’s decision was Terri-Jean Bedford – known previously as Madame DeSade of Thornhill, Ontario’s ‘Bondage Bungalow’ – a retired dominatrix who has been at the fore front of the debate to reform Canada’s prostitution laws, for the safety of sex workers.

“Great day for Canada, Canadian women, from coast to coast,” she said in Ottawa, clad in leather and carrying a whip. “Now, the government must tell Canadian – all consenting adults – what we can and cannot do in the privacy of our home, for money or not, and we must write laws that are fair.”

With Friday’s decision, the Canadian Parliament now has a one-year window to enact new legislation dealing with prostitution and sex work.

Bedford, along with Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott, brought forward the case that directly resulted in the existence of today’s vote.

“Men shouldn’t be punished or criminalized, just like women, for obeying their natural instincts,” Bedford added on Friday. “People are having sex all over the place every day, and the minute the find out somebody got paid, or got a dinner or a dress for it, they’re a criminal or a hooker?

“I don’t think so.”

Bedford also joked that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had called her and offered her a job in the Senate, as a government whip.

She added: “There’s wrong with it (sex, prostitution), whatsoever. It’s very healthy and it produces a productive man. A very happy man makes a productive man.”

Your browser does not support frames. <a href=”http://globalnews.ca/video/1043086/retired-dominatrix-jokes-about-stephen-harper-hiring-her-as-government-whip” _mce_href=”http://globalnews.ca/video/1043086/retired-dominatrix-jokes-about-stephen-harper-hiring-her-as-government-whip”>Click here to view the frameless video.</a>.

Kim Pate, director the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry (video above) publicly disagreed with the opinions presented by Bedford, and offered the following words:

“It’s a sad day, that we have now confirmed that it’s okay to buy and sell women and girls in this country. I think, in generations to come, our daughters, their granddaughters and one, will look back and say, ‘What were they thinking in that time?’ to say that it was okay to continue to enslave women and girls.

“To say that it’s a choice, when you’re talking about the women we work with, is to say that, in fact, it’s okay to just exploit them continually.”

Just Posted

Music that celebrates the Skeena landscape premieres in Terrace

“Skeena Suite” was dedicated to and conducted by retiring music teacher Geoff Parr

ValhallaFest readies for second annual weekend event

Number of festival-goers expected to double

Family frustrated Terrace dad with advanced cancer must wait weeks for treatment

‘We can see his health declining every day,’ daughter says

Board of Education hires independent consultant to review SD82 reassignments

Review will not change recent decisions but will gather input, says board chair

VIDEO: B.C. First Nation plans to launch legal challenge after Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan says he’ll continue to defend the B.C. coast

Life’s work of talented B.C. sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is set to visit Trans Mountain Corp.’s terminal in Edmonton

B.C. municipality prepares to forbid overnight camping by homeless despite court ruling

While courts have ruled against blanket bans, Langley City is employing a site-by-site approach

B.C. auditor says Indigenous grad rate highest ever but education gaps exist

The percentage of Indigenous students graduating from B.C. public high schools has hit its highest level ever

Statistics Canada reports annual pace of inflation rises in May to 2.4%

Transportation prices gained 3.1 per cent as the cost of air transportation added 8.9 per cent

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Most Read