It was a victory in all respects. I have examined the decision. I have now read many media reports and heard and read a number of commentators. You can also get my early comments that way. I want to add a few things here. In the first place, the fifteen judges have made it very clear that Mr. Harper and his government, and the provinces, must bring in laws that are clear, specific and do not discriminate against or endanger people. Second, if people point to some prostitutes as victims they should realize, as the judges did, that the very laws in place were much of the cause of that: which is why I keep saying that the prime minister is doing what organized crime wants him to do. Third, when people point to other countries, they should first look at the decision of Judge Himel, who had weeks of testimony and cross-examinations of experts about other countries and what their experiences teach us. In other words, as Rosie Dimanno of the Toronto Star said: “Read the damn decision”. Fourth, anyone who says prostitution (assuming their definition is clear) is always bad, is making a moral judgement and is a fool. I say that because we allow people to smoke, drink, overeat, not exercise, and so forth. We also allow promiscuous, anonymous pre-marital sex and fantasy role-play for free. Fifth, let the people who want laws against prostitution tell us how to enforce such laws and whether there are better uses of public resources than to interfere in the private behaviour of consenting adults when those adults are permitted to take precautions. And sixth, all prostitutes are someone’s daughter. My daughter has worked for me and if you want your daughter to be a soldier or be sexually harassed in the RCMP or in an office or to work for the minimum wage while having sex for free I would rather she do what she wanted and not what you wanted. And finally, seventh, if Mr. Harper is really interested in getting tough on crime let him crack down on wife beaters and dads who don’t pay their child support. Have you heard him talk about that? Anyway, enough for today. The debate is beginning and I look forward to being part of it and am so very grateful to my fellow plaintiffs and Professor Young and his legal team, and all the activists who are too numerous to mention. Truly a great day for Canada.
In 2010, after three years of hearings, with 25,000 pages of evidence and cross-examination, the judge ruled completely in our favour in our constitutional challenge to strike down Canada’s laws meant to restrict prostitution, whatever that is. In 2012 the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld most of the lower court’s decision. Hearings at the Supreme Court of Canada were in June 2013. You can look at all the key documents available to the public at the Web site: http://bedfordsafehaveninitiative.com. The final court decision will be released at 9:45 on Friday morning. I will be communicating my reactions as soon as possible after the release of the decision. While it has been a long battle, much lies ahead no matter what is in the decision.
Margaret Wente is a bad girl. Margaret is a high profile regular columnist for the Globe and Mail, often called Canada’s National Newspaper. On Saturday, June 22, 2013 she wrote an article critical of attempts to, in her words, legalize prostitution. Among other things she said the current case being made before the Supreme Court, Bedford Versus Canada (I am Bedford – one of three plaintiffs), cannot change the fact that legalization would, in her opinion, mean more sex sold and that this is always bad for the women involved and for society as a whole. I do not expect the members of the media to be fair, or even properly informed when they write or speak. They have so many issues to follow, deadlines to meet and advertisers to satisfy. But when someone of Margaret’s stature descends to an uninformed rant, and her editors publish it, it cannot be allowed to stand unanswered. My supporters have asked me to respond.
To begin with, I am not a poster girl. Not one of we three plaintiffs are poster girls. Margaret has spent time with me and said many positive things about me. The other two plaintiffs are dedicated and long time activists against the current laws. I am covered in the media a great deal because I have been before the courts for years. I have been to jail for prostitution and have been fighting the laws for two decades. I have walked the walk. Margaret mentioned none of this. Nor did she say that the court is not making decisions about the right or wrong of prostitution or its legality. It is legal. Margaret did not say any of this in her article either. The court is examining whether the preceding courts, six judges, erred in striking down laws or not doing so, because the laws are in not in accord with fundamental justice.
Margaret also did her readers a terrible disservice by failing to mention that the evidence considered by the courts exceeded 25,000 pages, heard with cross-examinations over three years. Within that evidence was comprehensive court tested evidence of the experiences of other countries and their prostitution laws. That debate about the experience of other countries is over. Margaret’s comments are not court tested. Margaret writes as if she did not read the two judicial decisions, a frightening thought.
I might add that Margaret did not tell you that any attempt to outlaw the sale of sex means the government telling people what is legal and not legal between consenting adults in private. She did not tell you how government is supposed to go about enforcing correct private consenting behaviour. She did not tell you that the judges said that the worst aspects of prostitution are already addressed by other laws. She did not tell you that on numerous occasions the editors of her own paper called for removal of the current laws. As to the good and bad of prostitution, whatever that is, or other acts between consenting adults, people should inform themselves, and others, before giving opinions.
HILTZ SQUARED MEDIA is proud to announce their partnership with TERRI-JEAN BEDFORD to develop a number of multimedia-based properties based on her life and book.
TERRI-JEAN BEDFORD is Canada’s most famous dominatrix, known by the stage name MADAME DE SADE. After being arrested in 1994 for running a common bawdy house, she fought against Canada’s unreasonable prostitution laws, and recently helped strike them down pending appeal. Now, she’s teamed with Toronto-based film company HILTZ SQUARED MEDIA to bring her memoir, Dominatrix on Trial, and her life, to the screen.
HILTZ and Ms. Bedford plan to produce if possible a movie, reality show, TV series, and perhaps more that tell the story of her childhood, youth, life as a dominatrix and legal battles.
“Hiltz Squared Media is thrilled to be working with Terri-Jean on a number of television projects. Ms. Bedford is a lightning rod for public attention and her decades of front page struggles with the ‘powers that be’ make her someone that audiences will find fascinating to watch again and again,” said Hiltz President Jonathan Hiltz.
Hiltz Squared Media Group Inc. (HSMG) is a production and distribution company, which was incorporated in 2000 by brother and sister Jonathan and Naomi Hiltz and Myles Shane. Since it’s inception, HSMG has ventured into many new projects and continues its success with a current list of ongoing and new productions as well as a growing distribution library. In 2001, they created the International Teen Movie Festival, the first of its kind in North America.
For further information or to arrange an interview, you can call Hiltz Squared Media directly at 905-881-5270, or email Jonathan Hiltz at email@example.com. Visit Hiltz Squared Media online at www.hiltz2.com.
(POSTED ON BEHALF OF TERRI-JEAN BEDFORD)
The Idea City Speech by Terri-Jean Bedford:
I see some former clients in the audience. Does it still hurt?)
Before anything else I want to thank Valarie Scott and Amy Lebovitch for leading this fight and for being such wonderful spokespersons in this, and other initiatives to protect women and our freedoms. They will have many important points for you to consider today.
I would also like to thank my lawyer Professor Alan Young who headed our legal team. My superhero disguised as an ordinary citizen. I would like the thank Her Honour Justice Susan Himel and the Ontario Court of appeal for striking down those monstrous laws!
Now, if I was an adversary of Prime Minister Harper, I would thank him too – for being so feckless in this matter. For those of you who may not know … ‘feckless’ is a person who is lacking in efficiency or vitality – who is unthinking and irresponsible. I really have no business commenting on his handling of the economy, his foreign policies, or what he is doing to protect the environment and so forth. But on his handling of the issues we are discussing today, I can tell you he has been a very bad boy indeed.
His government was caught totally off guard when Judge Himel’s ruling came out in September 2010. I am told they made no preparations for the release. They announced they would appeal about 3 hours after the release, and they did so without time to read it properly and consult properly. Incompetence! He fired no one for this.
Naughty Mr. Harper says unelected judges should not make laws. Six judges have told him to involve himself and that the laws are problematic to say the least. Yet the elected bad boy runs to hide behind the robes of yet more unelected judges. What does that say about him?
Does he know that these proceedings are the culmination of 4 years of a virtual public inquiry? Does he know that the findings were that the present laws create more violence against women and human trafficking than they prevent. Does he know that the judges found that there will not be much of an increase in prostitution – whatever that is – if the laws are removed?
Mr. Harper says he is against prostitution, and he vowed never to make it legal. Yet he wants to keep the current laws intact. Under the current laws prostitution is legal. Can you believe this guy?
Now we all know that pre-marital sex is also legal. Women can have sex with whomever they want, when they want. Does Mr. Harper have a problem with that? It appears he does. It seems to me that he has no problem with it, so long as she does it for free. It seems to me that he wants to control women’s bodies. If she negotiates dinner for sex, is she a criminal? Does she have to lie back and think of Harper when she has sex?
What does Mr. Harper mean when he says prostitution anyway? Does he mean sex for money? How about when I tie men up and tickle them? Is it sex? Is it legal if I do it for free? When I put men in corsets and dresses, am I a prostitute? I am sure Mr. Harper can share with us some of his acknowledged expertise in these matters. He should, because the laws he seeks to preserve are impermissibly vague in giving us the answers. That means that unelected officials, for arbitrary reasons, will decide when people’s private consenting behaviour is not legal. If anyone knows something about officials like that, it’s me.
Women are having sex for free all over town, all day, every day, anywhere they want, whenever they want, including the privacy of their own homes. The minute one red cent is exchanged she is a criminal. Why does Prime Minister Harper feel the need, the need, to have his lackeys tell me what I can and cannot do in the privacy of my bedroom with another consenting adult?
We must move away from a moral basis for legislating on this issue and towards a safety basis. We women must not lose control of our bodies and our lives. Other countries are hopefully moving forward in emancipating women. Don’t allow Mr. Harper to take us backward.
So I turn to Laureen Harper, Mr. Harper’s wife. I ask her to read the decisions and tell her elected husband what the findings were and then send the Prime Minister to me for a lesson in behaviour modification he’ll never forget. I will make a man of him.
I have a couple of signings for my book Dominatrix on Trial during June. People have been so kind in their comments. People who report on the media to me are surprised at how little people who normally attack me cite the book, even though book store clerks have reported to us that they bought it. If you want me to name names I thank you for your interest. A good dominatrix never tells.
First the court has to decide how long to extend the stay on the struck down law against living on the avails will continue while the court decides whether to hear the appeal of the decisions by two lower courts (six judges) striking down Canada’s so-called anti prostitution laws. Then it must decide whether it will grant leave to appeal. If it is granted they must decide on whether to extend the stay on the decision permitting bawdy-houses for prostitution beginning in March 2013. I will comment on the case therefore only when decisions are handed down.
Many if not most people think elected officials and not appointed judges should decide what is and what is not acceptable behaviour by our citizens. So why does the Prime Minister want to keep the struck down laws meant to restrict prostitution before the courts? He now has every reason to bring in new laws, and he has a majority government. Why does he need a third court to tell him that the current laws are problematic, to say the least? What is he afraid of? I think the time is coming when we will find out.
Some do some don’t. Same with waitresses. Same with office cleaners. Same with factory workers. Same with nursing home orderlies. Women all over the place are doing things they might not wish to do, to earn a living. If a woman can make a living in a few hours a week, safely if the prostitution laws remain struck down, having sex rather than work many days a week in hard labour, shouldn’t that be her choice?