From Jody Paterson —
Having a Twitter feed during the Senate’s meetings on sex work is both a blessing and a curse. I got so much minute-by-minute info yesterday on the opening day of the meetings that I practically felt I was there, but at the same time I spent the day fuming at all the inane, hurtful and poorly informed comments being made by some of the senators and that infuriating justice minister of ours, Peter MacKay.
Sex workers and sex-worker organizations that support decriminalization have a huge presence on Twitter. The feed coming out of Ottawa was frenzied from the moment I staggered out of bed yesterday morning, as that three-hour time difference meant that my 7 a.m. rising came a good hour into the meeting. And man, my fellow tweeters were incensed, mostly by MacKay and his continuing assertions that the “vast majority” of sex workers are victims in need of rescue, not workers in need of legal workplaces.
That statement alone set the tone for the fiction that mostly passes for decrim debate coming out of government these days. In truth, no one knows anything about the “vast majority” of Canadian sex workers, because research has been skimpy and almost exclusively focused on survival sex workers on the street. That group accounts for just 10 per cent of the total sex worker population, and even among that 10 per cent, the diversity of experience is far more varied than research with a few people could ever capture.