Will Newfoundland and Labrador beat Ontario?

The Safe Harbour Outreach Project, or SHOP, has written an open letter to Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Paul Davis, asking for the same thing sex workers in Ontario have been writing Premier Wynne about: use all tools at the Premier’s disposal to delay the implementation of C-36.

SHOP says Premier Davis has a unique perspective on this matter as he’s a former cop and knows firsthand the damage criminalization of consenting adult sexual behaviour has on a community.

SHOP coordinator Laura Winters says overwhelming evidence shows that the criminalization of sex work contributes to harm against sex workers. She says the Act will expose sex workers to further stigma and discrimination, diminish control over their working conditions, and threaten their health and safety.

She is calling on the premier to refer the Act to the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal before pursuing prosecutions under the new laws.

In other words, SHOP says everything sex workers have been saying for centuries, and what we’ve been screaming at the top of our lungs since C-36 was introduced.

SHOP’s open letter, in PDF form, can be read here (PDF). If you haven’t written a letter to your Premier yet, there’s no better time than the present. You can get ideas on what to write from SHOP’s letter, my letter, or even the template letter Naomi Sayers and Nikki Thomas put together.

Newfoundland and Labrador is a smaller province than Ontario, population-wise. One letter to the Premier from an advocacy group carries more weight there than 10 do in Ontario, which is why sex workers need more and more people to write in.

Oddly enough, it feels as though the situation in Newfoundland and Labrador is gaining more traction than it is out here in Ontario. What a strange thing it would be if Newfoundland and Labrador’s Progressive Conservative ex-cop male Premier upstages Ontario’s Liberal gay woman Premier by being the first one to ask for a constitutional reference.


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