About this Bedford thing: Harm to whom?

Nary a Supreme Court decision nor a woman desperately yelling her pleas in a committee room can stop this government from barreling through. Soldiering on. All of the clichés that come to mind seem to be violent in some way. Perhaps that’s worth noting and chewing on, given the circumstances.

Terri-Jean Bedford got worked up at committee proceedings today, to the point that the committee chair felt it inappropriate and had security escort her out (at which point she claimed to have “more information and more proof on politicians in this country than you can shake a stick at”). Now, yes, perhaps her provocative behaviour wasn’t entirely appropriate for a[n allegedly] calm discussion among political decision makers, but people get passionate when things hit close to home, and for Bedford, this is her livelihood on the line.

One might disagree with her lifestyle choice — a common refrain when the topic of sex work comes up is how ‘those people should do something else’ — but that’s irrelevant, really. It’s one thing to make personal decisions based on one’s personal concept of morality; it’s quite another to force them on everyone else through national law — especially one that runs counter to a Supreme Court decision.

After all, people can disagree with any number of career choices — there’s certainly no shortage of opposition to work in oilsands operations or big pharma, for example. A true believer in every-one-for-one’s-self style free-market economics would, presumably, support the individual pursuit of financial stability.

This is, perhaps, where the argument about harm comes in. One of the central roles of government is protecting people from harm (negative liberty or ‘freedom from’, for anyone who took intro to Political Science). Of all possible ethical grey zones in which to pursue a career (fraud and drug trafficking come to mind), is consensual sex — if practiced safely and with certain regulatory protections in place — really all that terrible of a thing? Do sex workers inflict harm? I daresay no, and if anything, many others have already made the argument that if C-36 passes, it will mean harm will befall sex workers.

— So, hold up a minute; in the name of protecting society from the evils and [perceived] harm of sex work, the champions of this law are willing to sacrifice the health and lives of sex workers, who will be more likely to be exposed to violence?

Come on. Something’s not right here.

One step forward, two steps back. The Bedford decision. The Climate change accountability act. The Conservatives won’t budge an inch. Maybe they think it makes them look strong, but what the Tories must see as sticking to their guns (oh yeah, the gun registry was another example) can also been chalked up to stubborn denial and ignorance. As the saying goes, true leaders listen more than they speak. Why not, then, allow a key witness at committee proceedings a couple minutes more to finish a point?


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