Fix prostitution

The prostitution debate is between the Conservatives and a unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Editor John Harding’s Nov. 27 editorial begins at the wrong point. The conversation surrounding prostitution isn’t between the Liberals and the Conservatives. It is between the Conservatives and a unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada.

In Canada v. Bedford, the Supreme Court said that we can’t pass laws which deal with a nuisance but end up jeopardizing the safety of citizens. The justices pointed out three parts of the Criminal Code which needed to change in the next year. Bill C36 introduced a handful of other provisions that are welcome and necessary, but kept all three parts of the Criminal Code as they were before, almost verbatim. There are several problems with this.

Firstly, it’s a waste of money. Having the Supreme Court hear the same case about almost the same wordings will cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Secondly, it implies that legislators simply chose to ignore a unanimous Supreme Court decision. Finally, if the court ruled based on evidence that the old law makes a “risky, but legal activity” unreasonably dangerous, what does going back to square one mean for the women we’re supposed to be talking about? How many more will go missing in B.C.? How many more will be buried, and how many more will we never be able to bury at all? Sisters. Mothers. Granddaughters.

This is where we should start the conversation, and even this letter is a failure in that regard. For there is no more tragic fate than to have brought horrors to light and then change nothing in their wake. In our acrimonious and overly partisan political climate it is very tempting to begin at the wrong point.

Scott HarrisonQualicum Beach