Would the Conservatives' Prostitution Bill Make Ezra Levant a Criminal?

It turns out I have been wrong about Ezra Levant - his ham-fisted windbaggery is actually good for something - yesterday he (unintentionally) exposed one of the absurdities of the Conservatives' new prostitution bill - C-36.

Here is the background.

Levant has recently been filling airtime criticizing Justin Trudeau for a 2011 visit Trudeau made to the Al Sunnah Al-Nabawiah mosque in Montreal.  

Levant and the Conservatives contend that the mosque Trudeau visited was linked to terrorism - insinuating that Trudeau was knowingly consorting with terrorists.

This manufactured controversy is absurd.  The truth is that classified documents - only released months after Trudeau's 2011 visit - linked the mosque (on the word of suspected terrorists) to radical activities in the 1990s - decades before Trudeau's visit.

So Trudeau did not know - and could not have known - about the secret allegations.  He was campaigning as an MP and did nothing wrong.

But facts have never got in Levant's pursuit of publicity.

Ironically, through his typical partisanship Levant actually exposed one of the ways that the Conservatives' new prostitution law is absurd.

Under the Conservatives' new law Levant would have committed a criminal offence - he would be a pimp, an aider and abettor of prostitution - a criminal.

Here's how.

Freelance report Justin Ling tweeted about the Al Sunnah Al-Nabawiah mosque's anti gay beliefs (it should be noted that Wahhabi Islam is not alone in holding regressive views on homosexuality - see Leviticus 20:13)

Ling said:

Levant invited Ling on his Sun News TV show and in the finest traditions of journalism commissioned Ling (i.e. pay money for an exclusive story) - on air - to kiss a man at the Al Sunnah Al-Nabawiah mosque to see what the reaction would be.

Lets leave aside the classy journalistic merits of Levant's money for kissing offer.

Levant offered Ling a couple hundred dollars to preform a sexual act (Check out case law on sexual assaults - kisses are sexual acts).  If the new Conservative prostitution bill was law Levant would have committed a criminal offence.

Here is why Levant would be a criminal - and why C-36 is absurd.

In December 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada - in the case of Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford - found many of Canada’s prostitution laws unconstitutional.  

The old laws violated the constitutionally protected right to life, liberty and security of the person. 

As I wrote in June the new legislation ignores the constitutional warnings expressed by the Supreme Court in Bedford - a position agreed with by most legal experts who testified at the committee hearings studying the bill.

One of the major problems with C-36 is that it is overly broad - it does not limit itself to 'sex' but criminalizes the buying and selling of 'sexual services'.  

Sexual services is a broad term that is undefined in C-36 and may include strip clubs, massage parlours, and large swathes of the pornography industry - and yes - kissing for money.

So what offences under C-36 would Levant have committed - here are a few:

  • 286.1 (1) Everyone who, in any place, obtains for consideration, or communicates with anyone for the purpose of obtaining for consideration, the sexual services of a person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years

 

  • 286.2 (1) Everyone who receives a financial or other material benefit, knowing that it is obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from the commission of an offence under subsection 286.1(1), is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years.

 

  • 286.3 (1) Everyone who procures a person to offer or provide sexual services for consideration or, for the purpose of facilitating an offence under subsection 286.1(1), recruits, holds, conceals or harbours a person who offers or provides sexual services for consideration, or exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of that person, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years.

Levant is many things: partisan, inflammatory, and draws little journalistic water - but he is not a sex criminal.  

Levant should be commended for unintentionally exposing that bill C-36 is as foolish as his own position on the manufactured Trudeau controversy.

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