Wednesday, October 01, 2014

You go girl!

Good Day Readers:

Wouldn't you love to see Ms Terri-Jean Bedford release a list of parliamentarians who've used the services of a sex trade worker to coincide with the start of the Mike Duffy trial? Then these holier than thou, arrogant, taxpayer parasites or "perverts" (as federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay has publicly described anyone who has visited a prostitute) can have the hot white light of attention cast upon them. Watch them scurry like little cockroaches for the darkness of the recesses of the corners

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Former dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford consults sex workers on whether to out politicians as alleged clients

Stephen Maher
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Terry-Jean Bedford flashes a victory sign as she speaks with the media after learning Canada's highest court struck down the country's prostitution laws at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on December 20, 2013. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Former dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford has sent a letter to sex workers across Canada asking for feedback on whether she should reveal the names of politicians she claims have employed sex workers.

In the letter, Bedford poses a series of questions about the possible consequences of naming names.

“Would you and your members and colleagues prefer me to back off exposing clients altogether, and if so why?” says the email. “I seek your help in answering these questions.”

Bedford, who led the legal battle that overturned Canada’s prostitution laws, threatened to name naughty politicians at a Senate hearing last month into C-36, the law the Conservative government is bringing in to make it illegal to buy sex.

“If this law passes I’m going to make you guys forget about Mike Duffy, because I’ve got more information and more proof on politicians in this country than you can shake a stick at, I promise,” she said, smacking the table with her riding crop.

She was ejected from the chamber on the orders of Conservative Senator Bob Runciman, the committee chairman.

Supporters of C-36 say it will help women get out of an exploitive business by shrinking demand, but opponents say it will put sex workers at risk.

Bedford and her supporters have been busy since her committee appearance. They say they are assessing the evidence and consulting with advisers to try to figure out the implications of doing what she threatened to do.

On Sunday, as part of that process, she sent a letter to groups across Canada who represent sex workers, asking for their input.

“One reason for exposing some clients is to show how unfair the law is when sex workers can report clients to the police and only the client is charged,” says the email. “This means, it would seem, that blackmail and entrapment have largely been legalized.”

Releasing a list would “show the hypocrisy of those who want to impose their will on others while themselves engaging in the very behaviour they want to others to stop.”

She also suggests that her plan would keep the issue in the public eye.

“Nothing attracts media attention as much as politics combined with scandals of this kind.”

Bedford said in an interview Wednesday that she has received a “flurry” of responses, and it will take weeks to sort through them.

“Some are saying, ‘Oh, please don’t do this.’ Others are saying ‘Just out the politicians.’ Some are saying ‘Just out the ones against C-36.’ ”

Bedford has circulated discussion papers to her advisers — activists, professors, and business people — including a few former clients who have remained close to her over the decades.

In their discussions, Bedford’s advisers acknowledge they aren’t sure how to evaluate the evidence — emails and photos, for instance — allegedly linking politicians to sex workers.

They don’t want to risk the privacy or safety of sex workers who are alleged to have been employed by politicians, and they are worried about hurting those in the industry by raising the spectre of “outing” clients.

“I don’t want to bring down anybody or tear families apart, but that’s what they’re trying to do to the common man,” says Bedford.

"No current worker will out their client. It would be career suicide."

But she said a politician might be the best person to test the new law, which will make it illegal to hire a sex worker.

“They should be used as an example,” she said. “We need a client to take it to court, right? So why not one of them guys? They can afford it.”

But many sex workers are uneasy about the idea.

Alana Massey, an independent sex worker in Toronto who is working on her PhD, said Wednesday that she hopes Bedford won’t follow through on her threat.

“This is a bad idea,” she said. “It’s really easy for Terri-Jean to do that. She’s retired. But no current worker will out their client. It would be career suicide. No client would see them.”

Sex workers do share information about clients through “bad date lists,” Massey said, but only troublesome or threatening clients.

“Clients are already worried about discretion and these conversations about outing are not helping.”

Massey opposes C-36, partly because sex workers will be driven to riskier behaviours if clients are driven away by fear.

Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford, and Niki Thomas, Executive Director of Sex Professionals of Canada, celebrate during a press conference in Toronto in 2012, wen the Court of Appeal of Ontario swept aside some of the country's anti-prostitution laws. (Photo by Alex Urosevic/Postmedia)

She says she understands Bedford’s desire to expose hypocrites, but it would hurt the industry.

“I’d love to be able to out clients who are conservatives who are actively being hypocrites, but my business and my career are more important to me,” she said.

Bedford won’t discuss what kind of proof she has about politicians.

“The less I say the more effective I’ll be right now,” she says.

She says she will carefully consider the implications of any release, but is driven by a desire to stop the government from passing a law that she believes will jeopardize the lives of sex workers.

Hepatitis C is ravaging her liver. She is trying to arrange for an expensive drug treatment but has not yet managed it.

“If I don’t get treated I may not make it through the winter,” she says. “So I’m really hoping that I do something before I leave this earth that is well worth fighting for, to be remembered for.”

smaher@postmedia.com
Twitter.com/@stphnmaher

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Text of email Bedford sent to sex workers and advocates on September 28, 2014:

Dear Jane,

I am writing to many of the groups and persons who have stood with Valerie, Amy, me and our legal team against the prostitution laws that were struck down. These groups and persons have voiced their support in so many ways and their messages were heard across the country again and again. I thank all of you for that support. I have done so in person when able.

The new law, Bill C-36 is of course an outrage. It will of course fail before the courts, fail in its implementation, and in the process its supporters will again be discredited. You and all the others have already been to helping to ensure that failure will happen.

Recently I testified before the Senate and in the question period after opening statements I was ejected. This got a lot of attention. One of the things I said, which also got much attention, was that I would expose some clients of sex workers. Everyone thought I meant politicians who supported C-36.

I have an advisory group working on the legalities and mechanics of that process. Part of that process, if in fact I do follow though, is determining what sex workers think about exposing some clients, and I am writing to ask you to tell me what you think. Please ask your colleagues to tell me as well by sending me an e-mail at the address below.

One reason for exposing some clients is to show how unfair the law is when sex workers can report clients to the police and only the client is charged. This means, it would seem, that blackmail and entrapment have largely been legalized. This would probably add fuel to constitutional challenges.

Professor Young also pointed out at the Senate that immunity from prosecution has until now only been given by prosecutors, not in legislation, as C-36 does. So exposing clients would show how irrational the law is, as well as illegal itself. exposing would probably also add this fuel as well to constitutional challenges.

Another obvious reason for exposing is to show the hypocrisy of those who want to impose their will on others while themselves engaging in the very behaviour they want to others to stop.

Yet another reason is to ensure the public remains aware of this issue and of the dangers and are unfair hardships the government’s approach would create for those in the sex trade. Nothing attracts media attention as much as politics combined with scandals of this kind. I could mention other reasons, but enough for now.

However, concerns come to mind too. Does exposing set a bad precedent for the sex trade overall, even if the law is not implemented to any extent or frozen in the courts right away? What other negative repercussions there be for sex workers if I did release part or all of my list? What would the consequences be if I just released one or two or a few names? What should be the criteria for names chosen for release? Would you and your members and colleagues prefer me to back off exposing clients altogether, and if so why? I seek your help in answering these questions.

Please share this with all you wish to share it with. I will read all e-mails sent to me and take all advice very seriously when I decide what to do. I appreciate that feedback every bit as much as the support shown over these years which, I say yet again, I am sincerely grateful for.

Yours truly,
Terri-Jean Bedford

terrijeanbedford @ gmail.com

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