A few days ago we in Ontario, Canada’s largest province, went to the polls. The result has been the re-election of the Liberal government, but with a minority. Unless there are recounts or whatever, they will have 53 seats in the 107 seat legislature. Assuming no members resign, die or change parties, the 2 opposition parties can bring down the government and force another election. It also means that the government must seek support or non-opposition from members outside its own party for anything it does.
It is my hope that the new legislature will pay attention to the current debate of the Himel decision striking down Canada’s prostitution laws. As I have said before, the issue before the Court of Appeal is not prostitution. The issue is the decision. In a bigger sense though, the issue can be said to be the desire of the governments of the country and province to keep the current laws in place – regardless of one’s views on prostitution. The judge was clear, Parliament pass new laws, laws that are clear, laws that are fair, laws that will be enforced. The present laws are dramatically under-enforced and when enforced often applied in an arbitrary and select fashion.
Parliament should do something now, not just try to do nothing for as long as possible. The new provincial legislature must do the right thing too. It should withdraw support for the appeal of the Himel decision, and instead advocate, like me, that the federal government write new laws and justify them. I will have more to say about that in the future. The federal and provincial elections are over and the time to act has arrived. This should not be before the courts any longer.