This afternoon I testified before the Senate Committee on Justice and Constitutional Affairs. I gave my speech and then was ejected from the question and answer session for failing to stop speaking when the Chair asked me to. I apologize for losing my temper. I was barely able to read my speech because I was so angry at the government for parading victims with repeated irrelevant information and then organizations who were shilling for government handouts on which they are dependent. The shameful use of victims by the government in this process, and their disregard for life by ignoring court findings, refusing to listen to their own legal staff and refusing to answer questions from legitimate sources made me snap. I have already been told that people are sympathetic to the points I made and even to my outburst. They seemed to agree that the government can’t handle the truth. They have repeatedly shown disrespect for various institutions, processes and persons. The truth will win out.
Prime Minister Harper called me again. He offered to appoint me to the Senate. As a government whip. I turned him down. I might run into former clients on Parliament Hill.
I am the Bedford in Bedford Versus Canada, the constitutional challenge striking down the prostitution laws. I know the sex trade in Canada as well as anyone. I learned about the issues by working in and managing almost all aspects of the sex trade over 30 years. I have fought the prostitution laws for many of these years. I have been in jail because of the laws. I have been in court as a defendant or appellant more times than I care to remember. I am Canada’s most famous dominatrix and perhaps Canada’s most famous prostitute. I was in attendance for most of the sessions of the 3 years of the constitutional challenge. So, maybe I know what I am talking about.
In these brief remarks I will make only a few points of my own. You have a library of evidence against Bill C-36, and I don’t want to repeat or submit briefs saying what so many others have said so well.
First of all senators, when it comes to consenting adults, the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.
Second, the national debate currently under way has not given enough attention to sex trade workers who don’t want to exit and are there by choice. If you ask me today I will tell you about some of them. These women, and indeed male sex workers, should not be grouped in with those who want out.
Third, what exactly is Bill C-36 supposed to outlaw? What exactly would be illegal between consenting adults in private for money? The response from some supporters of Bill C-36 are words to the effect that “everyone knows” or “the courts would have to decide”. If everyone knows, why not answer the question? If the courts have to decide, why not refer the bill there immediately?
Fourth, why does the government claim they are making the purchase of sex illegal. If it was legal to purchase sex before, where did all the John Schools come from? This new law changes nothing in that regard.
Fifth. The Justice Minister was wrong to call the sex trade degrading. The clients are there by choice. They are half the transaction. Many are pillars of the community, often business leaders, professionals and politicians. Most sex trade workers do not consider their work degrading. Lumping them in with those who want out is not acceptable in a free society.
Sixth, those who ask if you want your daughter to be a sex worker might also ask if you want your daughter working in any number of poorly paid, dangerous or menial jobs while getting sexually harassed in the bargain. And while we are at it, I want my daughter to work in the sex trade, but it should be her choice. Not only that, I may want your daughter to work in the sex trade and for it to be her choice. If you don’t like that I suggest you mind your own business and move to a country where the choices of women in the bedroom are controlled by the government.
Senators, it is bad policy to direct scarce law enforcement resources to stop consenting adult behaviour in private – while tax evaders, wife beaters, terrorists and what have you go unpunished.
So Senators, please don’t allow Bill C-36 to pass. Stand up for your country first. Use laws you have to help those most in need, in and out of the sex trade.
Senators, please, please don’t allow Parliament to force Canadian women to only have sex for free.
Canada’s most famous dominatrix will be testifying before the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs at 1:15 on Wednesday September 10th. The hearings are in Room 257E, East Block, Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
Miss Bedford a plaintiff in Bedford Versus Canada, the case which overturned some of the Canada’s major laws against prostitution. The final appeal was ruled on by the Supreme Court in December. The Court gave the government one year to replace the legislation
The hearings are about the Federal Government’s Bill C-36, the new set of laws being brought before Parliament in the coming session. The hearings follow the July hearings before the House of Commons Justice Committee, which Miss Bedford did not attend.
She will be available outside the hearing room prior to and after her session, which will conclude at 3:00. She will be joined by two other witnesses.
Miss Bedford has been in correspondence with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. She asked the Premier to refer Bill C-36 to the courts if the federal government continues to refuse to do so, in order to determine if it is constitutional – which most knowledgeable observers believe it is not. The Premier has publicly acknowledged this request and stated that her main concern about any new laws was safety. She has written to Miss Bedford since.
If you wish to write to or interview Miss Bedford she advises that you get in touch with her at terrijeanbedford @ gmail.com.
This message from the friends of Terri-Jean Bedford.