The “Bedford Rule” for Conservative Party Clients?

I’ve generally stayed away from the Bill C36 discussion (and blogging altogether) for a variety of reasons, but rather than rehash them now, I’ll just cut to the chase. On September 10, Terri-Jean Bedford appeared before the Senate committee assessing Bill C36, and said the following:

“If this law passes I’m going to make you guys forget about Mike Duffy, because I’ve got more information and more proof on politicians in this country than you can shake a stick at, I promise.”

For many years, Barney Frank had a rule regarding the exposure of closeted gay politicians – those who did not actively work to limit gay rights in the USA would have their right to privacy respected, but those who engaged in gay sex acts behind closed doors while also publicly opposing the advancement of gay rights deserved to have their hypocrisy revealed, regardless of the consequences. Known as the “Frank Rule” he explained it to Bill Maher in 2006:

“I think there’s a right to privacy. But the right to privacy should not be a right to hypocrisy. People who want to demonize other people shouldn’t then be able to go home and close the door, and do it themselves.”

Many of my past clients have had public profiles; I remember one enjoyable dinner date with a client, where we talked about seeing each other on the same TV program on different nights, and gave each other pointers for our future appearances. Some of my clients have been active in politics, either before, during or after the time I saw them. Although I can’t see myself ever “outing” a past client for any reason, I can certainly understand where Terri-Jean is coming from.

If members of the Conservative Party have purchased sexual services and they are simultaneously seeking to criminalize that very act, then Terri-Jean is well within her rights to reveal their actions, and their hypocrisy. Those who value their own privacy have no right to impose on the privacy of others, which is precisely what C36 will do. In that sense, respect for privacy is very much a two-way street – if you’re an elected official who doesn’t respect the privacy of other Canadian citizens, then you can’t expect the citizens to respect your privacy either.

It would not surprise me at all if a large number of male Conservative Party MPs are suspiciously absent during the next Parliamentary session, when Bill C36 is set to be voted into law.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below and tell me why!

15 thoughts on “The “Bedford Rule” for Conservative Party Clients?

  1. Terri-Jean Bedford is absolutely correct and should follow through regarding the hypocrisy of Conswervatives (deliberately spelled that way) and publicly ‘out’ that pack of right wing nuts!! If they are going to attempt to shove their Canadian-Taliban morals down our throats, they should be held to the standard of ‘clean hands’ meaning they have NEVER availed themselves of the services of sex workers, they are totally loyal and monogamous to their partners, and lead pure vanilla lives, after all why would anyone entrust themselves to a doctor with a record of malpractice claims, dead and/or maimed patients, and obvious substandard skills as a physician? The same principle applies here, if Emperor Harpatine and the Prince of Pictou (Peter MacKay) are going to dictate how we must behave, then they better be ready to have their private lives, and the private lives of those who support them held up to the light for all to see.

    C36 = The Robert Willie Picton model, that’s what the Harper regime is seeking to inflict upon us, and the blood will be upon their hands.

  2. I hadn’t given the whole outing idea much thought so far, but I, too, think Terri-Jean would be well within her rights to expose those who persecute her and fellow sex workers. We’re not talking about a difference in opinion here. The evidence of the very real harm caused by the Swedish Model – and its proposed Canadian variant – is there but Harper and his accomplices deliberately choose to ignore it. So why would anyone expect them to be above the very law they propose?

  3. Wow, this is a tough one.

    Assuming that an escort is operating as a professional, imposing an ‘outing’ rule on a client after the fact seems unethical; if they were not warned of such a penalty at the time services were rendered. (I can see that living in Ottawa has affected my use of language.)

    That said, if such a client decides to be hypocritically unethical by using sexual services privately and then acting against the safety of escorts and clients publicly, I would be inclined to waive the ethical concern noted above and ‘out’ them.

    From this point on, escorts might demand that their clients not actively support C-36 and similarly sex worker-hostile laws, as a precondition of service. 😉 Those who subsequently violate this condition do so at their own peril.

    It occurs to me that now would be the time to set up some sort of ‘blind’ web site where such hypocrites could be outed anonymously, without putting the escorts who serviced them at risk. The stakes are high enough now, that such exposure might be warranted. There’s an opportunity here to leverage Terri-Jean’s outburst into something politically concrete. I normally do not advocate such things, but one has to wonder: What would happen to C-36 if many of its proponents were revealed to be johns?

  4. I have always hated hypocrisy. The power of expose’ has been held by those with power like J. Edgar Hoover, himself a hypocrite.

    I have long thought sex workers, who have been legally powerless, have a great deal of power but did not use it to protect their income, reputation and to avoid reprisals. However, the beastly primitive laws oppressing sex workers also make it possible for prostitutes to be perpetual victims outside the law. Clients can harm them and they don’t go to police. Police can rape them and they don’t go to police ect, ect.

    I think sex workers are justified to use this power of expose, even if it tears apart families and wreaks political futures. It’s an evil like the amputation of a rotten leg. The reason I say this is a moral judgment. It is a lesser of two evils and the difference is vast and one evil is a means to justice and that is good.

    The criminalization of sex workers also rips apart families and harms real people based on lies and hypocrisy.

    The expose of hypocrisy for the sake of ENDING the misery created above will cause harm too. However, it will NOT rest not lies but the truth. Once prostitution is no longer a crime the engine of misery and hypocrisy STOPS along with the reason for the expose’.

    Criminalization = mysery without end based on hypocrisy.

    Expose of hypocrisy involves misery that will end when sex work is no longer outside the law.

    Sure problems will still exist but they will exist within the protection of the law. Justice is the measure of a free people and sex workers are a vulnerable and ever present MINORITY.

  5. If there are a large number of Conservative MP’s absent when C36 gets voted into law they are by their absence in fact supporting C36 and the government.
    MP’s were elected to represent their ridings in the House Of Commons, not to run and hide in the shadows. If the argument is being made that if members of the CPC (although any MP really, not just cons) have purchased sexual services and they are simultaneously seeking to criminalize that very act, then Terri-Jean is well within her rights to reveal their actions, and their hypocrisy, then I would say those absent from the vote or abstaining from it are equally in reality supportive of C36
    Politics requires those partaking (and receiving a good salary doing so) to make a stand. If a MP’s personal life affects his view on a law, vote against the proposed law. It may mean being banned from the party, or other sanctions
    but at least it can be done with one’s head held high, knowing he showed some integrity
    As for Teri Jean Bedford’s threat very mixed feelings. I understand her anger and frustration. I also take confidentiality seriously, and don’t expect a professional companion to reveal private details (including name) of an SP/Client relationship to anyone, without prior consent. But if her list had Harper’s and MacKay’s name on it, well I’m not so sure I would be as adamant about their privacy under the circumstances
    One irony, the CPC doesn’t care about Canadian’s privacy, how ironic it’s members of the CPC who now may risk their privacy being exposed. The shoes on the other foot so to speak
    A rambling


    • Roaming Guy, don’t weep or worry about the ‘privacy’ of any elected or appointed official so far as their past patronage of sex workers when those officials are actively, indeed – EAGERLY seeking to criminalize that which they have happily partaken of secretly and in the shadows, that is the hallmark of not only hypocritical cowards, but what I call “fascists-by-default”, they are so spineless and without any integrity that they are willing to rubber stamp their fascist masters at the top, the ones who call the shots, i.e. Emperor Harpatine and his moralistic, holier-than-thou Prince of Pictou, the abominable Peter MacKay.

      Sir Winston Churchill, in one of his grand arguments, noted that “It is the habit of the boa constrictor to besmear the body of his victim with a foul slime before he devours it” and this is the same sort of behavior we see from the CONservatives, from the Joy Smiths, the Neil Pletts, ad nauseum, they are not content with only trashing the civil rights of a segment of society inhabited by sex workers, they are pathologically compelled to smear, besmirch, and condemn those Canadians as being unworthy of basic safety and protection in their chosen line of work. The Bedford decision by the Canadian Supreme Court was made due to those basic rights being denied to that segment of society, and this sexual, judgmental equivalent of the “Enabling Act” of 1933 is a slap in the face to that Court, to the Canadians who happen to be sex workers, and to Canada in general. If the Canadian Fascist Party is allowed to get away with this today, who will be next?

      A variation on a familiar theme, i.e. “when they came for the sex workers, I said nothing because I’m not a sex worker nor did I patronize sex workers”. If passed, C36 means that ultimately at some point down the road, our political ruling class will be coming for ALL of us. I remind everyone of what Pierre Trudeau said, “…the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation” and that what adults consent to do in those bedrooms is a fundamental human right.

  6. I have some fundamental issues with this bill, and the downright silly discussions surrounding it.

    Sex happens, it is as necessary as air and water. To pretend to regulate is a farce, plain and simple. The illegal activities that may be involved, are also involved in other businesses. There is drug use in sports, do we ban the sport? There are sweat shops making clothing and electronics, do we shut down those industries? This is a control the masses play, morals being masqueraded as legislation. There are laws against drug use, and human trafficking. Don’t try to smear them over sexual acts you do not agree with.

    In terms of outing politicians, I am reminded of a colleague’s definition of fair: change the names, does the argument still work? If Ms Bedford’s clients were partaking in drugs, would the uproar over naming names be the same? If the politicians came looking for sex with a minor, would we be discussing their right to privacy?

    Sex is legal, whether I pay for it with a long term marriage, a Gold Card, or cash on the table makes no difference. You buy the house, and the car, and the groceries; but making it illegal for me to buy just the peach makes no sense to me.

    • POWERFUL points Mario … well said.

      Your comment about paying for sex reminded me of an old episode of “Law & Order” where Detectives Lennie Briscoe and Mike Logan are (coincidentally) investigating the murder of a sex worker, and Mike comments on just how attractive the victim was and asks Lennie “have you ever paid for it?” And without skipping a beat, Lennie says “hey, I was married and I’m STILL payin’ for it!” [thought a moment of comic relief might fit into this discussion right about now]

      Bottom line? (getting serious again)

      C36 MUST be stopped. And I believe it will be.

  7. C-36 ,”An Act to Facilitate the Murder of Sex Workers”, is being promoted by our elected public representatives through lies and obfuscation. Their legislative agenda – if and when consummated – will result in deaths and ruined lives.

    So much for the facts.

    Now, some legislators are just plain lazy or ignorant of these facts, or are intellectual weaklings who have succumbed to the web of confusion woven by their deliberately malignant and hypocritical colleagues. This is sad, disappointing, and alarming, but – in its own horrible way – par for the course.


    Those legislators who ARE clients of sex workers cannot lay claim to the garden-variety absolution which is available to the ignorant. Because those who are clients have personal knowledge. This makes their legislative conduct subject to a more strict ethical evaluation.

    Any public representative who is BOTH a client AND also acts to harm sex workers by supporting C-36, would be – by simple definition – just another scumbag bad client. No, strike that – they would be, instead, exponentially dangerous bad clients, because they wield the overarching power of the ability to create criminal law. With C-36, they conspire to detonate a legislative weapon of mass destruction. The fact that their assault against sex workers will be conducted in public, by standing up to vote in parliament, utterly fails to mitigate the violence of their action against those they know and have patronized. It would be precisely appropriate should they find themselves on an equally public bad clients list. Because bad clients is what they would be.

    So what of professional/client discretion? How can it possibly counterbalance this legislative promotion of hatred and murder?

    This question of course is complicated by the mechanics of basic human empathy.

    On the one hand, the outing of a client is particular. It’s a person the sex worker knows, a person the sex worker has shared with. The sex worker can picture in horrible detail the shock on the client’s face and the roiling of their particular life . This would (I suppose) be easier in the case of a client who has been personally abusive, who has conducted themself as a bad client in the one-on-one way that is usually conceived of under the label “bad client”.

    On the other hand, the legislatively-created violence of the client/lawmaker who votes to support a bill that will inevitably result in the death and violent abuse of many sex workers – although (probably) not the particular sex worker(s) that the legislator personally knows – is a much more abstract violence. It is all sanitized and distant and neat. Although more widely destructive than the single “bad client” scenario, the deaths and violence are not immediate and personally observable. Indeed, exactly who the specific victims will be are unknown, and, in a sense, permanently unverifiable in their causal particulars. So the violence created by the client- legislator is, in that sense, unspecific and faceless, and the indeterminate victims inevitably lack the empathetic substance that the specific (and two-faced) legislator elicits, because the legislator is personally known to the sex worker whose client the legislator is or was.

    On a practical level, very very few of those who will suffer from the consequences of C-36 will choose to out this particular sub-species of bad client – either because of such empathetic considerations, or the practical business necessity of maintaining the confidence of their other clients, or because of personal ethical standards of provider/client discretion. Business and safety and professionally-upright conduct all rely on it.

    The legislative bullies know this, and rely on it, too. Perhaps as cleverly so as they themselves think. Or perhaps not. Because what Terri-Jean Bedford is reminding them of is an even more visceral fact of human nature:

    Live by the sword … die by the sword.

  8. Those are profound observations W.I.T., and it should come as no surprise to anyone (based on my past rants and raves) that I am absolutely in favor of, and strongly advocate the outing of ANY elected official who has used the services of sex workers, IF they choose to vote for C36 and line up behind the vile and holier-than-thou Harper-toadies, specifically the Prick of Pictou, Peter MacKay.

    It always takes courage to stand up against injustice, and one would like to think that regardless of party affiliation, that our elected officials would make the right choice, which is to vote DOWN C36 because it is a blatant assault upon the rights of a large segment of society, rights which are guaranteed by the Charter, rights which were held up by the Supreme Court last year when they struck down the unconstitutional laws regarding prostitution in Canada.

    Unfortunately, due to the fascist arm-twisting from Emperor Harpatine and his minions, it will take more than just standing up for what is right, our elected officials need to act in their *own best interest*, which is their own political self-preservation, IF they have been living a life of hypocrisy, railing against sex workers and their chosen line of work, while indulging themselves in that very ‘vice’ which they condemn, then they damn well better vote AGAINST C36, unless they want that part of their hypocritical lives exposed for all the world to see.

    This is not unlike a local fire department being staffed by arsonists, and Terri-Jean Bedford has the biggest hose in town, and by God, she better be prepared to hose ’em down.

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