OTTAWA — The House of Commons justice committee has voted to amend the Conservatives government’s new prostitution bill.
The amendment was the government’s own and was passed over the objections of opposition Liberal and NDP members, who are in the minority on the committee.
The amendment will now criminalize prostitutes if they communicate for the purpose of selling sex next to a school, playground or daycare centre.
Conservative MP Bob Dechert, parliamentary secretary to Justice Minister Peter MacKay, said the change was necessary because the bill, as drafted, was too vague because it applied simply to places where children were expected to be.
NDP justice critic Francoise Boivin was among opposition MPs who objected to any provision to criminalize of prostitution.
A handful of NDP amendments were rejected by the committee, which is undergoing a painstaking clause by clause review of the bill after it was the subject of four days of marathon hearings last week.