Canadians face a long, thorny national argument over sex-for-money after thefederal government said it will appeal an Ontario court ruling that struck down Canada’s prostitution laws.
“Prostitution is a problem that harms individuals and communities,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said as he made the announcement Wednesday in the Commons. “That is why I am pleased to indicate to the House that the government will appeal and will seek a stay of that decision.”
As expected, the government launched its appeal a day after an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that certain prostitution-related laws are unconstitutional.
Nicholson also said Ottawa will ask the courts to suspend the decision by Justice Susan Himel while the case winds its way through the legal system.
This could mean several years of uncertainty about what laws will ultimately be enforced on the sale of sex in Canada.
It is also likely to spark a country-wide debate on an emotional issue that has challenged lawmakers and the courts in this country for decades.
Prostitution is not illegal in Canada but the court struck down three provisions that criminalized most aspects of prostitution.
In her ruling, Himel said laws against keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution, and living on the avails “are not in accord with the principles of fundamental justice.”