Friday, August 6, 2010

Time To Get Tough On Stupidity

I have a theory that our Prime Minister is a dangerous control freak. This is mostly based on anecdotal evidence, but it seems recent events fit that pattern. I think that after 4 years of a minority government, he is casting about for anything he can do without Parliament. These orders are completely in keeping with the Conservative ethos, but it's funny that we've gone for a while without any serious boat rocking and then all of a sudden in a single summer Parliamentary holiday there have been a number of dangerous Tea-party-appeasing measures rammed through.

One of the more recent things to come out of the Cabinet is a list of new items for the serious crimes list. Ostensibly, this is to hurt organized crime, but, as with all of the nonsensical orders being handed down by Cabinet, I suspect it will not serve the official purpose and cause a lot of collateral damage.

Included in the list of new serious crimes is "keeping a common baudy house." I will never understand laws like this. A keeper of a common baudy house is not automatically hurting anybody. Putting this on the organized crime list because gangs can make money from brothels is like saying that since some stores pay protection money to gangs, we should make it illegal to run a store.

Obviously people are paying for sex in this country. I don't even think it's illegal to do so, although it is illegal to communicate for the purposes of doing so, unless things have changed. And if a consenting adult pays another consenting adult for sex, what business is it of mine? I would even go so far as to say that by making it a crime to run a brothel, we drive the whole industry underground and make it more dangerous — for the sex-workers, for the clients and for the general public — and more likely to profit organized crime.

Instead of trying to legislate morality, it would make far more sense to make prostitution legal and regulate it and, most Canadian of all, tax the ever-living crap out of it.

But that doesn't seem too likely given our current mixed-signals government – for a party that doesn't want to ask you about your life, they sure seem to want to tell you how to live it.


Andrew Hawkins said...

Once again, we have a Government figurehead who believes he can quell demand by fiat, and that the way to deal with black markets is to make them more illegal. Idiocy...

I do take issue, however, with the fact that you associate these kind of morality plays as somehow being the desired result of the Tea Party movement ( when it is clearly a Neo-Conservative ideology, and in line with the current Republican party ethos.

terriblenews said...

I don't know much about the actual Tea Party except that their followers seem to be mindless anti-everything zombies who are not capable of independent thought. And while I imagine that there are a number of things in that video that are taken out of context, I particularly like the old woman who thinks that universal access to health care is the same thing is murdering seniors, and the guy who can't come up with anything he hasn't seen written on a bumper sticker. And the whole thing seems quite reminiscent to me of Stockwell Day answering that it's not inconsistent to spend $10billion on jails while preaching fiscal responsibility because there is unreported crime. Total logical disconnect.

I'm just pointing out that Harper seems to be playing to a particular, reactionary, easy-to-inflame, susceptible-to-fear segment of the population.

Ultimately, I wouldn't care which party was in or what policies were being rammed through; if they were being done in this way, I would be outraged. If you want to change the criminal code or change the way the census is conducted, you do it when Parliament is in session and you can be held accountable by voters.

cavum oris said...

1) that is in fact -exactly- the complaint that sex workers have about the illegality of "bawdy houses." A person can be arrested for living with a sex worker who works out of the home for "living off the avails of prostitution" and i forget the exact wording, but basically more than one person doing sex work in the same space qualifies it as a bawdy house. Apparently, this statute was the one use to justify bathhouse raids as well, as was mentioned in that article i posted a while ago (which i think you saw)

2) as you also mentioned, the fact that it is technically legal to work as a prostitute, but illegal to do so either indoors (bawdy house or living off the avails) or out (i forget how solicitation is enforced, but if nothing else, it puts you at high risk). so its more dangerous for sex workers, and yes, probably much more lucrative for those whose livlihood is in exploiting the illegality of things that still have a flourishing market. if you are the person whose labour is being exploited, but your labour is illegal, you are basically trapped. this is the same logic that allows illegal workers to remain in situations where the working conditions are far below any legal standard.

3) i freaking hate it when extra laws are made, to somehow cut down on crimes that are *already* illegal. i get that the idea is to prosecute the mob boss for mail fraud or whatever, but its infuriating. like making polygamy illegal because young girls might be exploited. why not deal with the actual thing that you supposedly have a problem with? well, because it actually is about morality, and 'think of the children' is just a way to justify that.

4)harper = total douche. totality of douchiness.