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A demonstrator takes part in a rally outside the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on June 13, 2013. The Supreme Court heard arguments on the country’s prostitution laws. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)
A demonstrator takes part in a rally outside the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on June 13, 2013. The Supreme Court heard arguments on the country’s prostitution laws. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)


June 16: Prostitution’s power imbalance, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Prostitution, power

Rather than striking down some of the major laws on prostitution, as The Globe advocates in its editorial The Women Pickton Preyed On (June 14), a more measured, precise approach would better protect women’s rights to security, and turn the justice system’s attention to the source of the violence, exploitation and sexualized racism prostituted women suffer.

The law can be interpreted with an equality lens to recognize the staggering imbalance of power between prostituted women and those who would buy, sell and use women for prostitution. Such an approach would decriminalize prostituted women, yet maintain the criminalization of brothel keepers, pimps, johns and those who are parasitically invested in any woman’s prostitution.

Suzanne Jay, Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution


If there were no demand for prostitution, there would be no supply and the problem would end. Given that there always has been a demand, a demand driven by men, and given that government and the Supreme Court are comprised mainly of men, why don’t men break the silence and talk about why there is a demand for prostitution?

Heather MacAndrew, Victoria


End-of-life care

Re Quebec’s Bill Pulls Right-to-die Debate Into Sharper Focus (June 13): Quebec’s Bill 52 contains important improvements in the delivery of palliative care. It requires patients to be offered appropriate end-of-life support. It promotes dignity by mandating private rooms for dying patients, and sets standards for consent and oversight of palliative sedation, a rarely used but important comfort measure.

However, by grouping palliative sedation with assisted death and euthanasia, it will further confuse patients and care providers.

Continuous palliative sedation therapy is designed to reduce suffering at end of life, and does not have the intent (or effect) of shortening life. Assisted death and euthanasia have the goal of shortening life. They are not part of palliative care. They should be kept separate and distinct from the work we do.

Hershl Berman, palliative care physician, Toronto


If our society were more supportive, accessible, inclusive and tolerant, would the concerns raised in the right-to-die conversation be somewhat addressed?

Bill Peace succinctly observes that individuals whose disabilities are emerging do not know what it is to live a life with challenges. Part of the slippery slope, he points out, is that this choice threatens those populations at risk, namely infants and adults with serious disabilities. Every day we hear about people with disabilities excluded from society due to attitudes, poor access and limited support. This is an important conversation to have.

Sheila Serup, Calgary


Temporary-foreign-worker rules are just PR

The Harper government’s promise to get tough with employers abusing the temporary foreign worker (TFW) program would be welcome if it were credible. It isn’t (New Rules Target Foreign Workers – June 11).

The feds are in the process of laying off 19,000 workers across the civil service. Where are the TFW inspectors going to come from? Moreover, labour standards are a provincial responsibility.

Given these realities, it’s clear that the Harper government’s announcement on TFW inspections is little more than an exercise in public relations. A growing pile of evidence exists showing that the TFW program is being used by employers to drive down wages, displace Canadians and avoid training Canadians.

The Harper government created this problem. Now that Canadians are becoming outraged, the architects of the TFW program are trying to give the impression that they’re responding with decisive action, when in reality, they’re doing nothing at all.

Gil McGowan, president, Alberta Federation of Labour


Temporary-foreign-worker rules will help bring order

The temporary foreign worker legislation is remarkably similar to provisions under the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, which have been in place for over 50 years. The pharmaceutical, medical device, food and cosmetic industries are legislated under this act and regulation: Working under authority of the Food and Drugs Act, a designated inspector may enter the premises at any reasonable time, and examine and copy records, interview staff and audit the operations.

With the addition of a search warrant, and accompanied by a peace officer, a Food and Drug inspector can even enter a private dwelling to enforce the act and regulations.

What is being proposed for workplaces with temporary foreign workers is not new, is not contentious, and certainly will bring a degree of order to a<QL> rather difficult situation.

Health Canada, the government department that has the mandate for the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, has developed plenty of the “checks and balances” necessary to discourage abuse, and I suggest that similar controls will develop for these immigration workplace requirements.

David McCarthy, Newmarket, Ont.


Bosses’ productivity?

Our productivity indices are grossly inadequate, as they don’t also assess the productivity of management (including owner-operators), only that of the paid employees (Underinvestment Tied To Overconfidence – Report on Business, June 13).

Comparing Canada with similar countries in the OECD, this country’s private sector is niggardly and myopic in terms of investment in personnel training and development, and has a very low rate of R&D investment.

The virtual absence of an apprenticeship culture and associated investments, the continuing free ride in gleaning trained personnel from our publicly funded colleges and universities, and the cornucopia of a free feedstock from international immigration, has cultivated a comfortable and thoroughly spoiled business sector.

This same sector’s contribution to the total public pool of resources through taxes has proportionally plummeted over the past several decades. So who is investing in Canada’s productivity and economic competitiveness? Not the private sector.

David J.A. Douglas, Guelph, Ont.


Senators’ smarts

If Senator Pamela Wallin is not smart enough to prepare an expense report, or hire staff to do so, then I contend that she (and everyone else found to have filed erroneous expense claims) is not smart enough to be a senator (RCMP Investigates Senate Expenses – June 14).

But that would suggest you have to be intelligent to be appointed to the Senate, when sadly all you have to be is a buddy of whatever party is in charge.

Craig Cherrie, Toronto


Re Wallin Admits She ‘Made Mistakes’ (June 14): No kidding.

Brian Caines, Ottawa


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