Staying silent no longer: all of these lives matter

Recall the proverbial wisdom that certain things should never be discussed at the dinner – politics, religion, money. At some point, although we may conduct ourselves conscientiously at the dinner table, when social media entered our lives we went absolutely socially insane.

Following the horrific shootings and bombings in Paris on Friday night, those opposed to Justin Trudeau’s pledge to bring in 25,000 on an accelerated basis have had the flames of their firy opinions stoked. Opinions that one would never say in polite company are typed with a fury of typos and mis – or no – information. Opinions that are based on fear, but not certainly not based on law, swirl in the abyss of what at least reads as the self-satisfaction that not all people are deserving of the same things. Some people are just refugees and if we have to wait for passports, why shouldn’t they?

I admit that I cannot explain to you why I care. I make a negative inference when I see status updates and tweets that are premised in selfishness and negativity. I assume the remarks aren’t made with a full arsenal of research and courses but rather a flash-in-the-pan emotional reaction to something. So I don’t know why I care – except that I suppose it hurts me to think that on this issue of broad human rights – where the stakes are truly life or death – people would rather stay in a cocoon of warmth and ignorance. I worry about these opinions being passed on to little children who will only learn of cruelness and selfishness when it is taught to them. I worry about the opinions passing along to representatives in the House of Commons and having the process delayed – because every delay means actual lives are ended. Lives and lights put out in a war torn world.

To take a moment to be personal, I open up to you that I am doing my best to learn about and to practice ahimsa, or the practice of non-violence. Teachers and authors have informed my view of this. Non-violence includes the obvious things like not harming, killing, stealing or lying to people, and it additionally includes not being aggressive with ourselves and instead being loving and compassionate with ourselves and all people.

So, as the Facebook posts trickled through my news feed, I tried to act in a non-aggressive way. I was compelled to author furious responses citing international law obligations and the actual definition of a refugee. I refrained. I was dying to tell the intolerant, fear-mongering big shots that they had no idea what they were talking about. I refrained, thinking this is the best way for me to practice non-violence.

However, a line from favourite song of mine by rapper and host of Q, Shad K, kept replaying in my mind – over and over:

We only feel better when we feel like we’re better than
Clever men and our violence
Silence is when we shoot from the lip too quiet
Then we talk non-violence and stay silent when it suits
Really, it’s all violence at the root

Should I really say nothing? Am I doing more violence by staying silent, not trying to be mean, not trying to rock the boat?

I conclude it must be more harmful for me to talk non-violence but stay silent when it suits.

Here are some facts about refugees.

Refugees are not really “immigrants” in the way we typically understand that word. We can perceive of immigrants as people who apply to come and live in a place like Canada and satisfy a series of requirements in order to be permitted to live and work here. Refugees occupy an entirely different category of eligibility. A person is a “refugee” or an “asylum seeker” when they meet the definition set out by the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. A refugee is someone who

“owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

Allowing refugees to land in Canada is factually entirely different than getting a passport. When you get a passport your objective is to travel in various countries. When you claim asylum, your goal is to escape the persecution that would otherwise mean you will very likely be killed.

In Canada, up until this change in government, legislation was often drafted that had the effect of violating Canada’s international obligations of non-refoulement: to not return an asylum seeker to the land from which they flee.

The Government of Canada has a process through which refugees are screened. You can read about it here and here.

Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives certain rights to everyone, including the right to religion, liberty and security of the person. That is the Canada that we talk about. Whether you like it or not, at law, Canada has established itself as a country that believes there everyone deserves certain basic rights. This is the Canada where we will host and protect asylum seekers.

I have read about people who are scared for their children who will have to grow up in a world where we accept refugees who might be terrorists, or where we help refugees but we do not ensure the homeless are off the streets. Ossie Michelin recently wrote that:

“This is not an either or scenario, it’s not a competition and there is no pot of money that can either go to the homeless or to refugees. We have the means and the ability to help these refugees, just as we have the means and abilities to help the homeless and the needy in our own home. There is no reason why we can’t help both.”

He’s right. There is room for all. Literally. The population density in Canada is 4 people per square kilometer. There are literally kilometers and kilometers and kilometers in which these people can live. And I’m willing to bet out of the 25,000 we will find people who have amazing skills – skills like medicine, engineering, teaching, carpentry, music. And gratitude. I’m willing to place my money on the fact that the asylum seekers given refuge in Canada will be ebbing with gratitude. With a desire to contribute.

Law is made up. It is effectively all a fiction. But regardless of that, it is a fiction which we have ascribed certain values to. Law and policy does not become real by virtue of fears or assumptions. In law, “nothing becomes a fact until [the trier of fact] finds it to be so.”

So, with that in mind, the irrational fears about refugees being terrorists: not based on fact. The absurd argument that we shouldn’t provide refuge for asylum seekers while we still have homeless people: not based on fact. The overarching panic and disdain of that which is different: not based on fact. And mostly, the worry that your children are growing up in a terrible world, where our left-wing government is just handing terrorists the keys to the kingdom: not based on fact.

What is a fact is that there are asylum seekers out there and they are dying every single damn day.

Hellish fact, that one. A fact that we are in a position to change. A fact that our government has said we will contribute to changing. Now that’s a good fact.

I’m not sure what happened to the etiquette that we grew up with, where we don’t talk about politics, or money, or religion at the table. I’m not sure how it came to pass that while we don’t do that, we care to scream our close-minded and cruel feelings by way of status update to 800 of our closest friends. I’m not sure. But as long as we’re doing it, here is my two-cents. I’m not staying silent when it suits.

“Land You Love” should make us all proud – no matter your political stripe

In an excerpt from the book Stephen Harper by John Ibbitson, the author writes “[W]hen Harper is really angry at you, he’s very calm. He looks you straight in the eye and tells you how you’ve failed him, and if you are a faithful follower, you simply want to die. The state beyond that is even worse. He simply cuts you out. He doesn’t speak to you, doesn’t reply to your messages, freezes you out of meetings. At this point, you should be pursuing a new career opportunity.”

Although this remark may seem biased in a certain direction, when read in its entirety, the article is outrightly neutral; a seemingly balanced analysis of the man that is our Prime Minister. The article begins with “He is a lion in autumn, weaker than in his prime, but still a force of nature. He faces his fifth, and perhaps final, test as national leader. But in a way, the result won’t matter. Whether Stephen Harper wins or loses the general election of October 19 is moot. He has already reshaped Canada. And Canada will not easily be changed back.”

This is inevitably true, and while not a glowing appraisal of the man, it certainly hits the point on the head.

In the last few days (at the time of writing, Vimeo stated it was 5 days ago) Hey Rosetta! and Yukon Blonde released a song entitled “Land You Love”. The song is a plea to citizens to “Please visit VOTETOGETHER.CA and vote to avoid another tragic Harper government”, with lyrics containting a plethora of the sadder truths from the last decade of Conservative rule: the missing and murdered aboriginal women who are “forsaken, forgotten and lost” and the Harper Government’s insistence on omnibus bills where issues are “hid in their bills, pushed through and hushed up”.

The song features 12 Canadian musicians, with layered guitars, piano, and shakers, singing together and creating a big, folksy sound like you might expect to hear at a house party. The voices are inviting with all the many lines to sing and harmonies you can take. The video is fun to watch, with a split screen and gimmicks involving guitars and sparkles.

However accessible and appealing the song may be, though, I suggest to you that the real beauty in the song is not in the music, the video, or even in the lyrics alone.

The deepest nuance of the piece is not in the use of darkness and light to represent despair that can become hope. It’s not in the cross-screen sharing of guitars between guitarists Adam Hogan and Brandon Scott showing the interconnectedness of the east and the west. It’s not even in the catchy motive or the words that make up the chorus, which, between the two, make you to just need to sing along.

No, the deepest beauty in the song is the bridge between the artists’ craft and their deep appreciation and respect for their rights. Hey Rosetta! and Yukon Blonde sing this song despite a history of Stephen Harper wreaking havoc on the lives of those who speak out against him. They engage in their right to freedom of expression irrespective of any consequences that should fall if the Conservatives are reelected.

And with a history of Harper’s blame and disregard for the arts, it certainly appears to be a risk they did indeed run. Consider people like Federal scientist, Tony Turner, who was “put on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation for creating a politically charged protest song about ousting Conservative Leader Stephen Harper”. Consider the cuts to the Canadian Broadcasting Company – cuts which were accompanied by Harper’s assertion that the company’s ratings were floundering. The CEO of the CBC-Radio Canada, Hubert Lacroix, has publicly stated this is untrue and that “I’m going to tell you it’s not because of our ratings that we have a problem at CBC-Radio Canada”.

So amongst this backdrop, where artists have every right to think they might be the next on the chopping block for Harper, to hear “Land You Love” is moving. In the very execution of their plea, they show us what it means to have a right of freedom of expression. They show us what it means to speak up for what they believe in. 

They show us how important so many of their rights are: the freedom of conscience; the freedom of thought, belief and opinion; and the freedom to vote. No matter your political stripe, I don’t know how you can say that Hey Rosetta! and Yukon Blond are, in this moment, anything other than absurdly, wonderfully, pride-inducingly Canadian.

Source: exclaim.ca

Source: exclaim.ca

Extra, extra!: Manning, Misogyny and #nlpoli

When I was in music school there was something wrong with me.  I didn’t believe in feminism.  I held, as some still hold, that the discussion contributed to the problem of inequality and that it further and aggravated segregation between genders.  When I went to law school I like to think I grew the hell up and have realized the error of my ways.  This is very good news, at least for myself.  A friend told me over drinks after I had had my moment of clarity (of realizing I was a bit (okay a lot) closed-minded, misguided and misunderstood on the subject) that she had always thought I was a reasonably intelligent person except for that one thing that just made me look like an idiot.  Valid point.

Now I not only believe strongly in feminism (though I do like to say equalism), but have actively spent time endeavouring to learn about it, how it affects people in varying societies, and at varying income levels.  Some of my favourite parts of the discussion for my socio-economic demographic are about women in politics.  Questions abound in this area: why aren’t there more candidates?  Of the candidates that do exist, why aren’t more of them successful?  Why do women get treated so radically different during their campaigns, their tenures, their retirements?

A great way to highlight the kind of scenario I’m talking about is through a question regarding US politics.  Why do people refer to President Obama and Senator Clinton in the same sentence, using the pronouns “Obama” and “Hilary”?  Undoubtedly, the knee-jerk answer is that there has been a former Clinton in US politics who was a male, so using her first name lends clarity to the conversation.  But is anybody under a mistaken impression that Billy C. is somehow involved in a conversation about the President of the United Sates and current US politics?  If it’s appropriate to go on a first-name basis, arguably we ought to refer to “Barack and Hilary”, no?

Barack and Clinton

Barack and Clinton

This week, in a fascinating turn of affairs, new Newfoundland and Labrador premier Paul Davis announced a somewhat mind-boggling reorganization of the government, including killing the Department of Justice and in place announcing the creation of the Department of Public Safety, and appointing non-politician, but actual lawyer, Judy Manning as Minister of said new department as well as as Attorney General of the Province and as the minister responsible for the status of women.  When this happened, we ranted and roared like true Newfoundlanders, and for all the parts of the conversation that were legitimate there were at least three questions or comments posed by the media that were somewhat enraging.

For The Media: How to Discuss Women in Politics

Name It. Change It. is a nonpartisan, joint project of the Women’s Media Center and She Should Run.  The organization strives to identify, prevent and end sexist media coverage in politics.    In 2012 they published the Media Guide to Gender Neutral Coverage of Women Candidates + Politicians.  Among other things, the Guide set out the Rule of Reversibility:

The most workable definition of equality for journalists is reversibility.  Don’t mention her young children unless you would also mention his, or debate her clothes unless you would describe his, or say she’s shrill or attractive unless the same adjectives would be applied to a man.  Don’t say she’s just out of graduate school but he’s a rising star.  Don’t say she has no professional training but he has worked his way up.

Sexism can also refer to the type of coverage, often about personality, appearance, or family, that is given to women politicians  but not male politicians.

Chart of Reversibility (Name It. Change It.)

Chart of Reversibility (Name It. Change It.)

In the case of Manning, the media has, of course, played a very active role in her appointment.  Arguably, the most important article that has or will be published about Manning was that of the CBC: “Judy Manning ‘surprised’ by questions about PC Party connections“, which was posted the day following the Premier’s announcement.

The article certainly doesn’t embark in direct sexist writing – and in fact, violations of the Chart of Reversibility are  rare!  But as Name It. Change It. tells us, it is not simply the exact language used but sometime the context and the topics.  The language used is, generally, aggressive and has the look of a cat with its back arched.

Adorable but arched and ready to hiss.

Adorable but arched and ready to hiss.

As the facts are relevant to this article, it is important for readers to understand that Manning’s long-term partner is Leo Power, an active supporter and volunteer for the PC Party.  Her uncle is Fabian Manning, former Newfoundland and Labrador MHA and current Senator in the Senate of Canada.

BristledWhen People are Imputed With Emotions They Didn’t Portray

The CBC wrote:

During an interview with CBC News, Judy Manning, the new minister of public safety and attorney-general, bristled when asked if her unconventional and surprising appointment was influenced by the fact she is the partner of longtime PC supporter Leo Power.

You know, I would hate to present a fact without knowing it to be true.  With that in mind, I watched O’Neill’s interview with Manning.  This first statement is interesting for me in light of the word “bristled”.  The Merriam-Webster online dictionary tells me that “bristle” means “to show signs of anger” or “to become angry”.

As I watched the interview, I simply did not see Manning become angry.  I saw a woman respond strongly and clearly to a question about whether or not she got appointed to AG of Newfoundland because she’s banging someone.  I thought she did a fine job, quite frankly.  I’ve seen anger, guys, because once when I was 17 I went drinking, and mother and father Stockley showed me what anger looks like.  It just doesn’t look like a smiling Manning saying “no”.

So, why then was the word “bristled” used?  Did the CBC hope I would assume she was bristled or angry?  And, if I did assume she was actually angry, what would that mean?  I associate being quick-to-anger as a negative, childish emotion.  In other words, her being bristled would lead me to forming a negative association with Manning.

VintageWhen Words are Embedded With Meaning They Didn’t Have

During the interview, Manning discusses the difference in pay she will receive as being evidence of her commitment to her new role.  Manning says it isn’t about the money, it’s about her desire to be of public service.  In her discussion of this, Manning uses the word “vintage” and “level” to describe well…her vintage or level…as a lawyer.  Having been called to the bar in 2005, she, and other lawyers of her vintage or level, would stand to make approximately $50,000 more than what she will earn as a public servant.  Commentary about issues of her remuneration aside, the CBC did a tricky thing with her quotes, when the article read:

Manning emphasized that she is also taking a “significant” pay cut by agreeing to take on the job, pointing out that she will receive a ministerial salary of just over $54,000. 

She said that is less than half of what a lawyer of “my vintage” could earn.

Now, certainly, this is what Manning said, but she also said a lawyer of “my level”.

It’s funny about that word, vintage.  When we think “vintage”, we think fine, aged wines and fancy, enviable clothing.  Ultimately, the word “vintage”, in general parlance, can come fully equipped with a host of automatic associations, including arrogance as it tends to mean things are better or more valuable.  By isolating that word in quotations, the CBC isolates the associations we are encouraged to make.  Because we have now made Manning arrogant, we have given her a negative quality.

Interestingly, I have this inclination Harvey Spector’s vintage brings in many of his clients.  So why are you trying to direct me to perceive it as a negative quality for Manning?

"Harvey Specter likes to win. So while he might be ruthless, manipulative, aggressive and staggeringly arrogant, he’s also the type of person you’d want to sit next to, rather than opposite, in a negotiation."  (See more at: http://www.bigpartnership.co.uk/blog/344-harvey-specter-reputation-protector-communication-tips-from-tv-s-most-arrogant-lawyer#sthash.pu7n0a3z.dpuf) Interesting...Harvey gets to be arrogant and it leads to a mancrush.

“If you’re detecting a hint of a man-crush here, you might be right  And in truth, he’s not always a very nice person.  But nice guys finish last and Harvey Specter likes to win. So while he might be ruthless, manipulative, aggressive and staggeringly arrogant, he’s also the type of person you’d want to sit next to, rather than opposite, in a negotiation.” (See more at: http://www.bigpartnership.co.uk/blog/344-harvey-specter-reputation-protector-communication-tips-from-tv-s-most-arrogant-lawyer#sthash.pu7n0a3z.dpuf).
How interesting…Harvey gets to be arrogant and it leads to a man-crush.

As a final note on this point, the word “vintage” also forms a part of another quote in which arrogance is less apt to be imputed to Manning.  With that in mind, is it even more possible that the word is not one of arrogance with Manning but rather just some word she uses without thinking?  It’s difficult to see how Manning’s verbal habits are sufficient cause for me to view her negatively.

Connections: When Interviewers Ask Inappropriate Questions Posed as Fair

The actual best part of this article is its select discussion of the line of questioning regarding whether Manning owes her appointment to her “connections” (do note that the pluralization is found in the article).  The CBC writes:

During an interview with CBC News, Judy Manning, the new minister of public safety and attorney-general, bristled when asked if her unconventional and surprising appointment was influenced by the fact she is the partner of longtime PC supporter Leo Power.

“I’m a little surprised that has come up. Quite frankly, in terms of my predecessors, I don’t recall the media ever approaching any of our previous cabinet ministers or our previous premiers about with whom they were sleeping,” she stated in reply to a question from CBC reporter Chris O’Neill-Yates.

In the article, the subject matter next veers to a discussion of the Premier Davis defending his decision to appoint Manning.  In real life, what actually happened was different.  In real life, this was not the flow of the conversation nor the end of Manning and O’Neill-Yates’ conversation on the point.  In real life, Manning proceeded to convey that she believes the question – clearly not about her uncle but only about her partner – indicates there is work to be done in her role as minister responsible for the status of women.  If it can be believed – and I myself almost could not believe it – O’Neill-Yates replies: in what sense?

In full, O’Neill Yates’ question is: “What part of the question is unfair, if your long-term partner was part of getting Mr. Davis to where he is today as premier, in asking whether his relationship with you had any role in getting you the position that you occupy today?”

I hate to jump in where Manning should have when asked such a surprisingly misogynistic question by a fellow female, but here is why it’s unfair: because you would not ask a man if he slept his way to the top, and that is the actual substance of your question.  Your failure to see how that is an inappropriate and unfair question is enough to turn my stomach and make me stop reading all but BuzzFeed.com forever more.  I’m so scared I will stumble upon more of this anti-women line of questioning that I almost want to boycott the CBC for fear I will have to feel offended like this again – and there is nothing I hate more than feeling offended by an entity on a Sunday.

A Few Lies, a Few Manipulations

Interestingly, though the article comments on Manning being the niece of Senator Manning, O’Neill-Yates asked, at least in the video provided by the CBC, only about Power.  Interesting, that.  Curious, that.  Are you, the CBC, tampering with the actual content of the article and the responses you got in order to help formulate and direct the shape of my opinions?  Wait, didn’t you also do that with the strategic inclusion of the word “vintage”?

I have yet to decide how I feel about Judy Manning in a meaningful sense as to her being in the roles which she now occupies.  However, the obvious attempts of articles, like the one discussed above, to encourage me to develop a negative opinion about her before seeing her in action does tend to do the opposite for me.  In watching her interview, and the various others that have happened since, Manning is confident, collected, steady.  She’s a strong, obviously well-educated woman who isn’t scared to call out misogynist questions.  Maybe it’s my love of hood culture or my own immaturity, but the attack on her person makes me just want to tweet “U Jealous? #YUMad #NLPoli”.  Because, frankly, the trite direction this conversation has taken is no more mature, responsible or enlightening than such a tweet would be.

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If you have an interest in this subject, you can find more helpful resources and discourse at NameItChangeIt.org, where a rich discussion of how we can help women who are acting in, striving for and excelling in politics can be found.  Click here.

Prostitution and Politics: A Week in Review

Have you all been following the insanity that is Bill C-36 this week?  BECAUSE lemme tell ya, if you’re interested in reality tv and drama up in drama’s grill – this right here is the stuff of your dreams.

As a nerd cross Charter/human rights enthusiast, the Bedford (prostitution) Supreme Court case last year was fascinating to me.  What I didn’t know at the time, though, was that would what be that much more fascinating was how people (read: certain members in the House) would respond to the ruling.  It really depends on how you see courts of law, and maybe the Supreme Court in particular.

If you’re my boy, Peter MacKay, you might just view it as “a situation that was created by the Supreme Court of Canada when it struck down certain provisions in the Criminal Code in Bedford” (Source). I love that!  “A situation that was created” – dripping with just a touch of irritation.

B'ys we seriously got a situation

B’ys we seriously got a situation

I don’t mean to beat up on Pete, which probably seems like it’s a bit of a pastime of mine , but his extreme ability to firmly insert foot into mouth is becoming more and more outstanding.  In the words of the actual Situation, Peter, “You’re the worst argument person ever.”

the actual situation

The actual Situation

Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, has a series of objectives.  These include protecting children, trafficked people, vulnerable people (read: prostitutes) from the intrinsic harms of prostitution and reducing the demand for prostitution.  In furthering these objectives, buying sex is now illegal and punishable on summary conviction.  So is advertising for the sale of sex.  The goal is to protect the above-mentioned people, so when a prostitute receives legal tender for the deed, that’s not illegal.  Nor is using that money for the benefit of her spouse or her children.  However, Johns, pimps, buyers – these are the people who stand to be charged under the new legislation.

Of particular disdain amongst opponents of the Bill is the new provision which provides that a person will be found guilty for offering or procuring in the presence of persons under the age of 18 – whether prostitute or not. It seems likely that the ultimate hope for the Bill is the eradication of prostitution.

Sunny Freeman of the Huffington Post writes Industry insiders say the law will be ineffective in preventing exploitation and instead serve to drive the industry further underground and sex workers further into danger. For those reasons, many believe the ban on advertising will not pass constitutional muster. 

Interestingly, though, not all sex workers can get on board with this idea.  Natasha Falle, a former prostitute of 12 years and now professor at Humber College, was the witness from Sex Trafficking Survivors United during the committee meetings on the Bill this week.  Ms. Falle believes the goal should be to eradicate and end prostitution as a form of sexual abuse.

I watched Ms. Falle give this response to a question posed by the conservative  member from Mississauga South. I have to admit, I have been borderline obsessively watching the videos of the committee.  We’ve all heard about the idiot…I  mean…poorly-spoken Mr. Goguen who essentially asked a former rape-victim-prostitute if her gang rape was an expression of her Charter rights and ought to be protected.  While not all of the discussions are so jaw-droppingly shocking, they have all been so candid and amazing and I have been watching them with the fury of many policy-obsessed nerds combined.

(As a sidenote, from some very funny commentary on Goguen and his symptoms of the apparent rampant foot-in-mouth illness going around Parliament, click here.)

What I found potentially most  interesting during Ms. Falle’s testimony  (which you can watch some of here) was the response of her colleague to her left, Ms. McDonald, who profusely both rolls her eyes and shakes her head as Ms. Falle opines that eradication is the right and just path that we should be on.

The beginning of the eye roll - how all mature prostitutes debate

The beginning of the eye roll – how all mature prostitutes debate

LUCKILY for Ms. McDonald the conservative member noticed: “Ms. McDonald I can see you shaking your head…”  She then asked Ms. McDonald whether her end goal, as a general goal of harm prevention, is to help girls get out one day.

Ms McDonald works for Maggie’s: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, where the mission statement is “Maggie’s advocates that we should all have the right to choose or reject sex work, just as we have the right to choose or reject any other kind of work.” She advises the committee that, when she works in pursuit of harm prevention, girls come to her considering their options.  She testified that the girls who come to her can both learn how to write a resume and a cover letter, and, additionally, aren’t gonna be told that they’re “bad”.

At this point, the Conservative member had to battle back a small, typically-Candian-poli polite uproar after a discussion about summary convictions which don’t lead to jail time or a criminal record.

Ya gotta admit – when Ms. Falle tells her story of drug induced schizophrenia, born of a coke addiction, born of being assaulted by an escort service driver (after ten years of selling sex without ever touching hard drugs) that the intrinsic harm in prostitution does in fact seem much greater than Ms. McDonald’s worry about summary convictions or combination crimes (involving drugs) that lead to jail time.

Other issues with the Bill include the anti-advertising provisions.  Those provisions are seemingly so broad and, owing in part to a failure to define “sex” or “sexual activity” or “the nasty” or other acronyms for “IT”, that many business owners stand to lose lots of revenue at an already-bad time for the print publishing industry.

I suppose that’s a fair comment.  Small businesses don’t need a further impediment to running a successful operation.  But, then, one somehow thinks – this isn’t in regards to all advertising.  If your adult advertisement seems to selling sex don’t publish it.  I find it difficult to be persuaded by the argument that this part of the Bill will negatively impact massage parlours and strip clubs where the lines might get blurred when reading their advertisements.

And what of other laws that limit what people in business can do? Is this ban on sex-for-sale advertisements somehow harming your business more than the new anti-spam legislation?

Have you ever seen that commercial about the YellowPages at the cupcake store?  And this person walks in but she says “I’m not really here because I couldn’t find your listing online”?  And the commercial is about getting an online YellowPages listing and changing with the times, rolling with the punches and all that? Is it crass of me if I say that the perpetrator of this sad argument needs to grow a pair?

Business isn’t easy!  Laws and society and how business works change all the time.  If this anti-sex-advertisement is really the reason why your business just might fail…well, I hate to be too persuaded by either Harper, the Man, or some strange belief that this Bill has merit…but you’re lying to yourself!

So, the short and the long of it is that this week has literally gone off the rails.  My personal take on the Bill is that there is a much good in there.  I’ve read about the likelihood of possible Charter violations in the Bill’s current form, and it could be so.  I’m swayed, however, by a Bill that sees a problem and, for once, thinks both of how to attack it in and of itself, and, additionally, endeavours to nip the thing in its bud.  The combination of greater potential liability on clients, and a legal situation that, one hopes, will remove prostitution from the reasonable prospects of the children that would usually become prostitutes (owing to systemic problems including social-economic status), seems so logical to me.

In conclusion, the score board this week in Prostitution and Politics reads:

Ms. Falle – 1; Ms. McDonald – 0.

Mr. Goguen – 0: The Rest of Good People – .

And, last but certainly not least:

Peter MacKay – 0; The Situation – 1.