By Jonathon Van Maren
Every so often, Canada’s progressives in the media remind us that despite their claims of being purveyors of compassion, they are in reality just small and hateful men incapable of understanding complex issues. A prime example of this is radio host Charles Adler, who had a minor meltdown this week over an exchange between Alberta MP Arnold Viersen and NDP MP Laurel Collins of BC.
After a speech about the horrors of sex trafficking and the responsibility of government to intervene on behalf of the victims by Viersen, Collins responded by asking Viersen “to consider listening to the voices of sex workers. Sex workers are saying that sex work is work.” She then went on to criticize Bill C-36, which criminalizes the purchasing of sex in order to target pimps and johns.
Viersen responded: “Mr. Speaker, I would respond to that by asking the honorable member across the way if it is an area of work that she has considered and if that is an appropriate—” here he was interrupted by indignant shouts—”I think this makes the point. I do not think any woman in this country ever chooses this as a job. This is something women are trafficked into and something we have to work hard to end in Canada. Prostitution in Canada is inherently dangerous, and we must work hard to ensure that all Canadians have a safe place to live in this country. We do not want to see our women and girls forced into prostitution.”
Opposition MPs erupted, demanding an apology (which Viersen gave), and the media picked up the story and ran with it. Twitter blew up. Ironically, the outrage precisely proved Viersen’s point: After all, if sex work is just work as Collins claimed, why would it be so offensive to ask someone if they’d ever considered it? If being a prostitute is much like being a florist, or a lawyer, or a construction worker, why should people be so angry at Viersen’s question? Anyone who thinks about it for longer than thirty seconds knows: It is because prostitution is not like other work. Even those who do not accept this position intellectually understand that instinctually.