Local opponents of proposed sex-work legislation have plenty to say about its content, but they save some of their harshest words for how Bill C-36 came to be.
At a Saturday rally, Fiona Traynor recounted being asked to meet with Justice Minister Peter MacKay to provide sex workers’ views on what the bill should include.
Traynor chairs the board of local sex workers’ organization Stepping Stone and she said that 16 groups took part in the consultation.
Of those 16, 11 didn’t represent sex workers: they included police forces, evangelical Christian groups, and the organization REAL Women of Canada, which describes its aim as supporting traditional family and marriage.
“It was a false consultation,” Traynor said to a crowd of nearly 50 people who showed up to the rainy rally in Grand Parade.
“It was set up to give the government what they wanted.”
The consultation included much talk about underage victims of trafficking and pimps, said Traynor, rather than adults willingly selling sexual services.
She said she has personally known four Halifax women who have died while working in the sex trade.
Traynor said the legislation, which was drafted to replace prostitution law struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada last year, makes for “not a nice future” for Halifax sex workers.