Armstrong takes tough stand against sex trade

Dave Mathieson
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PARRSBORO – The Federal Conservatives tabled a bill last week designed to overhaul prostitution laws in Canada.

“Selling sex in locations close to our children will be illegal,” said Scott Armstrong, MLA for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. “But the first people to stand up in the House of Commons and say that was wrong was the New Democratic party of Canada.”

Armstrong was the guest speaker at a Cumberland South Progressive Conservative fundraising dinner for Jamie Baillie Saturday night in Parrsboro.

The draft bill he discussed, C-36, was introduced in the House of Commons on Wednesday by Justice Minister Peter McKay.

The bill, if passed, makes it illegal to pay for sexual services but not illegal to sell sexual services, except where children are present.

 “Can you imagine taking the position that prostitutes should be able to sell themselves for sexual purposes in a playground or near a schoolyard or where there are children,” said Armstrong. “We will never, never pass legislation allowing that.”

Armstrong says sex trafficking is a serious problem in Nova Scotia, particularly in Halifax, where young girls who have been taken away from their families are put into the sex trade.

“We’re going to make sure we protect our communities, we’re going to make sure we crack down on the sex trade,” said Armstrong. “We will not put up with a Supreme Court decision saying we’re going to have prostitution close to our children.”

Besides the Supreme Court of Canada, Armstrong also took constitutional lawyers to task.

“We don’t care what the constitutional lawyers say,” said Armstrong. “We stand up for the people of this country and we know the people of this country, in their hearts, do not support an open and legal sex trade.”

Baillie, the MLA for Cumberland South, introduced Armstrong to the 100 guests in attendance. Before the introduction, Baillie talked about the Ivany report.

“If you line the Ivany Report up with the PC platform we ran on in the last election you would be amazed how much in alignment they are,” said Baillie.

The Ivany Report, released in February by Ray Ivany, president of Acadia University in Wolfville, is a plan of action to spur demographic and economic growth in Nova Scotia.

“The Ivany report says we need to make agriculture, forestry and fishing strong again, we say the exact same thing,” said Baillie. “The Ivany report says we need to balance the budget and live within our means, the PC platform says the exact same thing.

“The Ivany report says focus on small businesss because that’s where 80 per cent of the jobs are created, The PC platform says the same thing,” added Baillie. “The Ivany report says we need more Nova Scotians, the PC platform says we need one-million Nova Scotians.”

Before introducing Armstrong, Baillie said Nova Scotia have the resources and the people to make the economy run strong.

“We’re in the middle of a free trade zone between North America and Europe,” said Baillie. “And, unlike many places in Canada, here in Nova Scotia we have politicians working together to make things happen.”




Organizations: Ivany, House of Commons, Federal Conservatives The PC Supreme Court of Canada Acadia University

Geographic location: Canada, PARRSBORO, Nova Scotia Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley Halifax Cumberland South Wolfville North America Europe

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Recent comments

  • Martin Dufresne
    June 11, 2014 - 22:56

    I am surprised that Mr. Armstrong doesn't argue instead that his government will never stand for *men* soliciting women and youths in such locations. It seems to me that there is no need to threaten already victimized women with criminalization - they are not the would-be pedophiles lurking near schoolyards. With a strong law against johns and pimps and would-be recruiters targeting youths for prostitution - and kudos to the Cons for bringing such a law to Parliament - the add-on measure (still) criminalizing women is clearly moot. The Conservatives would be well-inspired to listen to feminist critics and drop it from their law, reinforcing it against a possible Court challenge.

  • Jim Grant
    June 09, 2014 - 13:26

    Scott Armstrong is deliberately obfuscating the issue. This legislation affords no meaningful protection to children. The supreme court decisions did not do anything that would put prostitution closer to children. Yes the draft act uses the word children, and the rhetoric around the release of this draft certainly did as well. But just like the assurance of Vic Toews that opponents of his bill C-30 sided with child pornographers, children are being used as a shield by legislators to protect bad legislation. This act has several serious problems. First, and what should be of paramount importance of crafting any legislation that affects our penal code, this act does not create enforceable laws. The act has terms like "Legitimate Relationship" and "where children can reasonably expected to be present" in it. This is way too imprecise for law. To actually enforce this law enforcement agents are forced to use their personal bias to discriminate in the interpretation of the law, then the courts will be forced to do the same. It is a mess that will not stand up to convict anyone, and of course, since it doesn't even try to address the constitutional issues that the other laws were struck down with it will also face constitutional challenge. I can't imagine a law professor who asked his class to draft legislation as an exercise would give anything but an F to such shoddy language. Another powerfully wrong aspect of this legislation that it has made it impossible for there to be legal consent between a sex worker an their clients. The old laws had that problem, and now we have resurrected the same issue that prolongs and promotes rape culture. If we say that consent doesn't matter with sex workers and force them into euphemistic communications where clear consent does not exist, then this impacts the rest of society, we send the message that presumed consent, expected consent are ok. That prolongs the existing rape culture. Further the rhetoric around the announcement of this legislation uses the same tactic used to silence rape victims and turn the table on them making them responsible. By describing all customers of sex workers as perverts, by describing all sex work as degrading and disgusting, by using terms like perpetrator and john interchangebly, by calling all sex workers victims and suggesting that they are all helpless they intimidate these people who, at least today, still have a legal voice, and attempt to shame them into not speaking out. This tactic has been seen in several high profile cyber bullying cases to drive teen-aged girls to suicide.