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.”