Canada

Laws Surrounding Prostitution Struck Down in Ontario

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Judicial good sense from Ontario, could spread Canadialand-wide:

An Ontario court tossed out key provisions of Canada's anti-prostitution laws on Tuesday, saying they did more harm than good, following a constitutional challenge by three sex-trade workers.

Prostitution is not itself illegal in Canada, but nearly every activity associated with it is, such as communicating for the purposes of prostitution, living off its avails or operating a common bawdy house.

The sex-trade workers who launched the constitutional challenge argued the restrictions forced them to work in secrecy and on the street, and thus made them more vulnerable to violence from both clients and pimps.

Justice Susan Himel of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice agreed, ruling the laws forced prostitutes to work in conditions where the dangers they faced outweighed any harm that easing restrictions on prostitution would have on the general public….

Although Tuesday's ruling only stops enforcement of the laws in Ontario, it can be used as grounds to strike down similar laws in Canada's other provinces.

The government and several conservative groups who had defended the laws in court were expected to appeal Tuesday's ruling, and the court granted a 30-day stay to allow officials time to deal with any changes.

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  1. WHOREHOUSE CLOSED

    BEAT IT!

  2. The very thought of canadien hookers makes me cringe

    1. I used to think that until I went to, of all places, Winnipeg last summer. The waitresses in the bar were hot, as were many of the female patrons.

  3. Legal pot in California, legal hookers in Ontario. Why oh why can’t we have the two together somewhere besides Amsterdam (which was ruined by RyanAir)?

  4. An Ontario court tossed out key provisions of Canada’s anti-prostitution laws on Tuesday, saying they did more harm than good,

    This is what libertarian-style judicial activism looks like – striking down a law not because it violates a specific constitutional guarantee, but just because it is teh stoopid.

    1. Is that what libertarians advocate? Some would argue that libertarians interpret constitutional guarantees too expansively (e.g. Barnett’s “presumption of liberty”) but I’ve never heard anyone here argue for a court striking down a law because it was stupid.

    2. Is that what libertarians advocate?

      Not this libertarian.

      I’m sick to death of people whining about activist judges every time a court applies the Constitution to overturn a law.

      That’s not “judicial activism”. What this Canadian court did, however, is.

      1. In theory, the rational-relation test could be a way to strike down stupid laws. Unfortunately, courts tend to treat that test as a mere pro-forma analysis.

      2. Ignoring stupid laws is what jury nullification is for. . . . dey tuk ar jooooooooooooobs again.

    3. Except that the law was struck down because the judge ruled that it violated several provisions of the Canadian Constitution (called the Charter of Rights):

      The women asked the court to declare legal restrictions on their activities a violation of charter rights of security of the person and freedom of expression.

      It may be a stretch, but the prostitutes’ lawyers did use constitutional arguments to argue their case.

      1. To a United Statesman, Canadian appeals court rulings on these rights issues often look like judges are legislating because the rights are written more vaguely and interpreted broadly. So you get these wide-ranging balancing tests that make judicial activism in the USA look like kid stuff. However, because of the vagueness of their written rights, they need such activism to get anything. It’s as if a bunch of suggestions overrule specific commands.

  5. Wow. Canada is leading the way on an economic right.

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