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Angiulo: Comparing Legalized Prostitution in Canada versus America

Monday, December 23, 2013

 

This week I learned that prostitution is legal in Canada. I swear I didn't know this until December 20th when the Canadian Supreme Court ruling of the Attorney General of Canada v. Terri Jean Bedford, Amy Lebovich and Valerie Scott showed up in my twitter feed. Since this week's column already runs the risk of appearing in work inappropriate search engine results, I want to make it clear that I have no intention of dwelling on the bawdy side of this issue.

Instead, I suggest that this case shows how our two countries have similar constitutional provisions that get applied in similar ways for very different purposes because of a simple truth: a healthy democracy does not create second class citizens.

As a starting point I think we can agree that sexual conduct for a fee is, for the most part, illegal in the United States. This is an important distinction between the legal and social traditions in our Country from those in Canada. As the Canadian Supreme Court outlined in AG v. Bedford it's simply not illegal to engage in prostitution. It is, however, illegal to do things likeadvertise these services,share profits with prostitutes, and either be in or run what we would commonly call a brothel.

Both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution as well as Article 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms all talk about the same things: individual rights to life, liberty and protection under the law. Interestingly, the case of AG v. Bedford is a case where prostitutes claimed they have a right to equal protection from unreasonable restrictions and that the application of the above described laws is unfair. Those in the business of prostituting successfully argued that the restrictions, rather than encouraging good moral order, are in fact endangering their health, safety and welfare. Essentially they state that the existing legal structure permits their behavior, but endangers their lives because they can't have people legally acting as business agents, security teams or even have support staff like accountants.

Arguments for Equal Protection under the law have a well respected tradition in the United States. One of our most famous cases, like so famous that it shows up in Fifth Grade History books, is Brown v. Board of Education where the United States Supreme Court ruled racially segregated school systems were unconstitutional. The underlying principle is that there should be no aspect of our laws or government that creates second class citizens evens if some social pressure places a particular group people in an unpopular caste.

On the face of it, the Canadian case of AG v. Bedford appears to be all about legal sex and a morality issue that we as United States Citizens could never understand. In reality, the legal issue presented is much more approachable. This case is just about a group of people, engaging in a legal business, who want the same protections that other people get. Even though they are very unpopular in some social circles.

 

Related Slideshow: College Guide 2013: Great Ideas For a Cheap Night Out

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Go Out Just For Dessert

Dessert makes a great meal for college students. Many frozen yogurt shops charge by the ounce, meaning you have control over how much or little you pay. With the wide variety of healthy toppings offered nowadays, you and your wallet can feel guilt free. Looking for a place near your campus? Check out our list of the best ice cream and froyo spots in Worcester.

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Shame-Free Karaoke

Searching for a good laugh or a way to embarrass your roommate? Karaoke is a fun and free event, and one of the best spots in Worcester to sing your heart out is Ralph's Rock Diner. On Wednesdays head over from 9:30 until close for their “Big Game Karaoke,” promising contests, prizes, and fun! Look out for other exciting events Ralph’s offers each month.

Photo: Flickr/thegrid.ch

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BYOB Asian

BYOB restaurants bring the cost of going out to eat way down compared to other restaurants. One of the best spots in Worcester that’s BYOB is Dalat restaurant, which serves authentic Vietnamese food. Grab a six pack and a few friends and head over to enjoy some food to share. For some more Asian
restaurants in Worcester, click here.

Photo: Flickr/TheHungryDudes

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Game Night

For the competitive, game nights offer a fun time while testing your skills. NU Café has Scrabble nights on Tuesdays from 6-8:30 where you can oppose some of the best players in New England. Look for other events NU has to offer, including 10% off all purchases for college students on Mondays.

Photo: Flickr/toxickore

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Seek out Small Plates

Many restaurants now offer small plates, or tapas, on their menus. These dishes are great for sharing and cost less than most dinner entrées. Bocado is one of the best tapas restaurants in Worcester and is open late, making it a great place to go when out with friends. Other late night spots for college
students can be found at Golocal’s Best Late Night Binge Eating Spots.

Photo: Flickr/Ben30

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Drink on the Cheap

To guarantee a great time that everyone will enjoy, look for places with drink specials. Jose Murphy's is a great hangout that offers $8 beer pitchers and $20 margarita pitchers. Come on Sundays and Mondays when they have 10 cent tacos that will satisfy even the hungriest college students. To find more cool spots around Worcester, check out our best spots for beer.

Photo: Flickr/klndonnelly

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Eat Wings

An option for the dorm room snacking or when going out to eat, wings are flavorful and fun to eat. Many restaurants offer wing deals or specialties, meaning you and your friends can eat on the cheap. Grab an order next time you’re hanging out in a group and let the good times roll.

 
 

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