The next time someone tells you that you can’t make a difference, just tell them about the time a bunch of hookers, pimps and perverts were able to convince a Premier to request a consitutional reference.
Premier Wynne Statement on Bill C-36:
Yesterday, on December 6, after months of hearings and public debate, The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act came into effect.
When the Supreme Court of Canada struck down three provisions of the Criminal Code, they found that each of the impugned laws placed sex workers unnecessarily at risk in a way that violated their rights to safety and security under the Charter.
As I have said before, my priority in this debate is to ensure that our laws and institutions enhance the safety of those who are vulnerable — in this case, sex workers: a class of (mostly) women, who are disproportionately the victims of sexual and physical violence. So I believe that there is merit in considering whether the Conservative government’s new legislation meets that test.
I have listened to the debate that has taken place over the last year, and particularly since the introduction of Bill C-36. And I am left with grave concern that the so-called Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act will protect neither “exploited persons” nor “communities.”
I am not an expert, and I am not a lawyer, but as Premier of this province, I am concerned that this legislation (now the law of the land) will not make sex workers safer.
The legislation was duly passed through a democratic process. The Attorney General of Ontario is bound to enforce the Criminal Code. And she will.
But I have also asked the Attorney General to advise me on the constitutional validity of this legislation, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Bedford case, and our options as a government in the event that the legislation’s constitutionality is in question.
We must enforce duly enacted legislation, but I believe that we must also take steps to satisfy ourselves that, in doing so, we are upholding the constitution and the Charter.
Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who spoke up – sex workers, clients and allies alike. After such a difficult year for sex workers, it’s nice to know we have people who actually care about our well-being.