Thursday, July 31, 2014

2015: The honkin mother of all elections?

Good Day Readers:

The next federal election is already shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested in recent memory. The Parties have already been in pre-election mode now for several months with some nasty nomination battles making the headlines. But imagine this. As the campaign officially begins the trial of Mike Duffy, Mack Harb, Patrick Brazeau, and, yes, "Hurricane Pam" plus as an added bonus Nigel Wright are underway.

But it just gets better if that's possible. Members of groups representing sex industry workers release lists of Members of Parliament who are clients. Watch as voters scrambled to find out whether their MP made the "honour roll." Recall how not long ago Peter MacKay publicly stated, "Anyone who used the services of a prostitute was a pervert." You would then know who among his Conservative (Liberal and NDP) colleagues were perverts. Then again, perhaps it's best the "ladies" are yet releasing the names best saved until the election call.

No one would be following the campaign as everyone was transfixed on following the trials and "The List" on the internet, television in the newspapers. The mother of all elections with the smallest voter turnout?

Clare L. Pieuk
John Ivison: Prostitutes back off exposing Conservative clients despite 'palpable' hypocrisy over C-36

John Ivison
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Emily Symons, Chair of POWER: "Discretion is essential in the sex industry and the only time clients would be outed is to protect other sex workers.' (Cole Burston/Postmedia News)

Who’d have thought that hookers have more integrity than some politicians? A great many of you probably — and you’d be right.

Honourable members may or may not be more prone than the average person to seeking comfort in the arms of representatives of the oldest profession.

They certainly have more opportunity than most, being away from home and spouses for long periods of time. Some of the current cohort have succumbed to temptation and are well known to local prostitutes, according to the sex workers themselves.

“This is Ottawa, so of course people are talking. I’ll leave it at that,” said Frederique Chabot, a representative of POWER (Prostitutes of Ottawa/Gatineau Work, Educate and Resist).

Some of those MPs are Conservatives, who are also in favour of criminalizing the purchase of sex — a position that would appear to require a considerable degree of moral contortion to reconcile.

Sex workers who participated in this week’s justice committee hearings into the new Conservative bill on prostitution say the feeling of hypocrisy was “palpable.”

Ms. Chabot says there was anger at the harshness of the legislative process. She said there has been discussion of using the political kryptonite at their disposal by divulging the names of MPs who are regular clients. “That tactic was brought up but was shut down by some pretty strong voices who said they could not stand being part of a movement that would want to do this,” said Ms. Chabot. “We have some integrity.”
Opponents of C-36 have been vocal. (Michel Comte/AFP/Getty Images)

Emily Symons, chair of POWER, said it is tempting to reveal the names of MP clients who are in favour of C-36, but she said she would be surprised if current sex workers would risk doing so. “It would be career suicide for them — no one would want to use their services,” she said. “Discretion is essential in the sex industry and the only time clients would be outed is to protect other sex workers.”

She said a sex worker who released a list of MP clients would be “literally martying herself for the movement.” But she said it is possible that a retired sex worker might take it upon herself to name names.

Some MPs familiar with the unlicensed stews of the capital may have had a nervous night after I tweeted speculation Tuesday that a list of client names is being collated.

The concept provoked much mirth from opponents of the Tory bill, with one correspondent hoping that the list included performance reviews.

POWER put out a Tweet saying it is not compiling a list of MP clients but Ms. Symons said she has heard a sex worker on the West Coast is talking to her contemporaries about gathering names. Yet, while the Ottawa group is not actively gathering names, it would not take much effort to do so. “They know which MPs are clients,” said one person familiar with the industry.

The message is probably already winging its way to Conservative MPs from the Prime Minister’s Office — from now on, the only guilty pleasures available in Ottawa are ABBA records and Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy

Email: | Twitter: @ivison


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