Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Will The Government's New Prostitution Legislation Make Strip Clubs Illegal?

Past President of the Ontario Bar Association James Morton thinks so:

Most people do see a difference between going to a strip club and hiring a prostitute.  Strip clubs, while perhaps not the most elevated form of entertainment have long been accepted in Canada.  Some readers may remember the litigation over Pandora’s Box in Ottawa in the early 1970s -- since then strip clubs have been part of the Canadian landscape much like adult video and magazines.  


Note that "sexual services" is not defined.  Based on the preamble's description of objectification of the human body is a harm to be avoided, "sexual services" must be defined broadly. It could, on a simple reading of the legislation, include paying someone to take off their clothes so that the viewer can obtain sexual gratification. Certainly a "lap dance" where a naked stripper sits of the lap of a customer - who has paid for the dance - is caught by the legislation.

Is it likely that charges under the proposed legislation will be laid against someone getting a lap dance at a strip club?  From my own experience if a section in the Criminal Code can be made to apply to activity some police officer somewhere will lay a charge and some Crown somewhere will prosecute.  In fairness, it does seem that the legislation could apply so why would charges not be laid? 

Some have argued that the same legislation will make publishing the kind of want-ads offering escort services that you see in The Sun and Now Magazine illegal.  As I write here, and as others have suggested, the Tories don't likely care.  The purpose of the legislation is to serve as a device for fundraising after it is inevitably shot down by the courts.


UnEvil One said...

Banning strip clubs and escort ads also makes it easier to sell to social conservatives who are unhappy about not criminalizing prostitution.

jrkrideau said...

The purpose of the legislation is to serve as a device for fundraising

And it will get sex-workers killed, and provide any number of people with nice shiny new criminal records.

It takes some kind of perverse skill to turn bad legislation into even worse legislation. Well done, the cons.

MgS said...

I see someone else has cottoned on to the fact that the government has not defined "sexual services".

This is one of the most alarming aspects of this legislation.

UU4077 said...

Does this mean that magazines like Playboy and such are also caught in that interpretation?