Equal Time: picking on Hedy Fry

My last entry here discussed some grandstanding by the PM on street racing. But in an effort to give similar time to similar folly, I present the MP for Vancouver Centre, Hedy Fry, dealing in stupidity on the subject of prostitution.

While I am grateful to Dr. Fry for saving us all from Svend Robinson’s return to the House of Commons, I have to call her out on some daftness that cropped up in last Thursday’s news cycle.

24 Hours ran the story with the lede: “A Vancouver Liberal MP wants to re-ignite the debate on decriminalizing prostitution.”

Eh? Did the law change while I wasn’t looking? Nope. Prostitution is still legal in Canada. What, you didn’t know that? The uneasy compromise we Canadians have so amusingly come up with is that solicitation in a public place is illegal, but not the act itself.

While I entirely disagree with the opinions of this website on Canadian prostitution, it is a good overview of the current state of Canadian law, including recent precedents. Yep, prostitution: legal in Canada. Even the “bawdy house” laws that are on the books are practically ignored in many places.

So what is Hedy on about?

Well, aside from some grandstanding about how her wonderful committee work was lost as a result of the last election, Dr. Fry, MP seems to want to specifically make it legal to be a streetwalker.

Please, no. Let me try to make the simplest, least inflammatory argument I can muster: the way you become a prostitute on a stroll in Canada is by being too hopelessly messed up to hold down a job in a massage parlor or an escort service. We’re essentially talking about legalizing a group that combines a mishmash of minors, the mentally ill, and the dysfunctionally drugged. None of these groups is in need of a career, they need interventions!

And of course, prostitution isn’t illegal, just public solicitation. So what Dr. Fry really wants is for prostitution to be less regulated than hot dog vending.

In fairness to Ms. Fry, if her opponents on this issue were all as incoherent as Ottawa Sun columnist Geoff Matthews, I might be inclined to think she was on to a good idea. But they are not, and she is not.

Since I have compared PM Harper and MP Fry here, let’s score their respective bits of silliness:

-Enacting Chuck’s Law would cause minimal changes in the actual law, though it would add some redundant legislation, increase penalties, and maybe keep a few offenders in jail a bit longer.

-Enacting Dr. Fry’s rather vaguely defined idea that we should stop “picking on” street prostitutes has a good shot at increasing the number of ruined neighbourhoods, damaged lives, and numbers on the streets. Prostitutes looking for a safe alternative to the streets already have such things. I don’t think there is much of a case to be made that street walking can be made anything like safe. The only advantage I see for Hedy’s plan is that it has no chance of becoming law in Canada.

Unless, of course, the Liberals elect her as the party leader. Beware her inspiring vision.

1 Comment so far

  1. Judy B (unregistered) on June 16th, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

    Agreed. But … isn’t picking on Hedy Fry a little like shooting fish in a barrel?

    She’s so obviously out of touch and motivated by personal-gain, so clearly wrong for Vancouver Centre, that one can’t help but count the ways in which she fails the electorate. I shudder to hink what she would do to/for the Liberals as leader.



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