Trudeau wary of proposal to legalize, regulate, tax prostitution

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau is keeping a wary distance from a Liberal proposal to legalize, regulate and tax prostitution just like any other commercial enterprise.

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau is keeping a wary distance from a Liberal proposal to legalize, regulate and tax prostitution just like any other commercial enterprise.

A resolution to legalize the sex trade is being pushed by the Liberal party’s youth wing and is to be debated at the party’s national policy convention next month in Montreal.

But the Liberal leader, who has enthusiastically embraced a resolution passed at the last convention to legalize marijuana, signalled Thursday that he doesn’t favour taking the same approach to prostitution.

He played down the importance of the resolution and indicated that he views prostitution as a more complicated issue than pot.

“The priority of the Liberal party … around our policy convention in February in Montreal is on economic success for the middle class. That is the centre of our focus,” he said during a campaign stop with a provincial Liberal byelection candidate in Thornhill, Ont.

He noted that the prostitution resolution is just one of many to be debated at the convention and said he looks forward to hearing what Liberals have to say on the subject.

The debate is timely given that the Supreme Court has thrust the prostitution issue back onto the federal political agenda.

The top court last month struck down the country’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional and gave Parliament a year in which to come up with a new legal regime to govern the sex trade. The court ruled that the current prohibitions on brothels, street solicitation and living off the avails of prostitution create life-threatening conditions for prostitutes, violating their right to life, liberty and security of the person.

“For now, I’m just very, very mindful that the Supreme Court came down very clearly that the current approach is not protecting extremely vulnerable women and sex workers and we need to make sure that we are finding a way to keep vulnerable Canadians protected from violence that surrounds prostitution but also is intrinsic to prostitution,” Trudeau said.

In French, Trudeau went further, saying it’s important to recognize that “prostitution itself is a form of violence against women.” He called for a “responsible, informed debate” on the issue.

Trudeau also said Liberals are “certainly going to look at” the so-called Nordic model, which penalizes those who purchase sex, not those who sell it.

Conservatives have used the mere existence of the resolution to attack Trudeau for wanting to legalize both pot and prostitution. Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino, a former Ontario police chief, waded into the fray Thursday.

“Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have been clear: making prostitution and illegal drugs more accessible to Canadians are their priorities,” Fantino said in a written statement.

“Under the leadership of Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper, our government is focused on protecting our communities from the effects of illegal drugs and vulnerable women from the harmful effects of legalized prostitution.”

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, attending a caucus strategy session in Ottawa, did not directly respond when asked if he’d consider legalizing prostitution. He said the issue is complex and needs to be studied by a parliamentary committee, hearing from police, health experts, community groups and sex trade workers.

Mulcair chastised Harper for failing to immediately launch such a study following the Supreme Court ruling.

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month