Skip to main content

If one includes our bodies of water, Canada is the second-largest country in the world. I am, however, forced to assume that it's not large enough for the Conservatives to put the appropriate amount of distance between their party and the question their MP Robert Goguen asked a victim of gang rape this week during the justice committee hearings on the government's prostitution legislation, Bill C-36.

Giving the Conservatives the benefit of the doubt on this, we will hear from them imminently – they are working to annex Montana.

If you missed it, Mr. Goguen asked Timea Nagy, the founder of an organization that assists victims of human trafficking and a former victim of human trafficking herself, this question: "You were describing a scenario where you were being raped, I believe, by three Russians. Let's suppose the police authorities would have broken in and rescued you. Would your freedom of expression have been in any way breached?"

Story continues below advertisement

"Whoa," you're thinking, "He said what? Montana's not going to make Canada big enough for this, how much resistance do you think we'd get from Idaho?"

Was Mr. Goguen suggesting that anyone is fighting Bill C-36 on the grounds that it violates women's right to express themselves by being raped?

No, he was attempting to be clever with one concern regarding Bill C-36's faint hope of surviving a Supreme Court challenge – that in radically curtailing sex workers' ability to advertise their services, it violates their right to freedom of expression.

This legislation will make it virtually impossible for sex workers to advertise, communicate with or vet potential clients, who under Bill C-36 would be committing a crime by purchasing a legal service, so won't be available for screening banter in relatively safe locations.

Therefore, sex workers and their advocates argue convincingly, Bill C-36 increases the likelihood that sex workers will be raped. This doesn't make Mr. Goguen's shtick (he near-chortled as he posed his question) any funnier.

"I don't understand the question," said Ms. Nagy, for whom English is a second language, speaking for most of the country.

Mr. Goguen clarified, "What I'm saying is you weren't freely expressing yourself by being raped by three men?"

Story continues below advertisement

Oh, hello, Nevada, what's shaking?

Yes, Mr. Goguen said this in a jocular tone to a woman who – in an attempt to defend the government's proposed legislation, which she believes can prevent human trafficking – had recounted the horror of being raped by three men.

With friends like Mr. Goguen, who needs enemies?

Well, the Conservatives need enemies – in California – enemies earned in their attempts to seize that state in an effort to put a seemly amount of distance between themselves and this man.

This would have to be a vast acreage – one the Conservatives unanimously deemed necessary in the first minutes of a hastily organized meeting held because, we will hear as soon as enough land is secured, they were disgusted by Mr. Goguen's line of inquiry and want him far, far away.

"If you were rescued, you wouldn't feel that your rights were violated?" Mr. Goguen added, applying the comedic rule of three to his witness's rape "scenario."

Story continues below advertisement

Yes, because I love this country and want to be proud of it, I'm going to assume the Conservatives have been pouring all of their energy into these land acquisitions and that is why they haven't had time to say, "That man doesn't represent us," or to possibly stop that man from representing them.

How else can we explain what we're hearing: crickets. That better be the sound of our new compatriots, the Mormon crickets, large katydids that inhabit much of the Great Basin and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, or as I assume we will soon be calling it, Southern Saskatchewan.

How did we suddenly get to Colorado, you ask?

Well, I like to think that when Stephen Harper, our Prime Minister, was informed of Mr. Goguen's questions, he said, "Regardless of the fact that Ms. Nagy says she wasn't offended, his questions were awful and nonsensical and if we're going to convincingly claim we're acting on behalf of all women on this we're going to have to make for the tip of Mexico" and advised upon a route.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies