Thanks to the lovely long weekend afforded Canadians, I had a fair bit of time on my hands over the last few days, so I spent it wandering around Toronto. It’s relaxing and it gets me out of the dark, oppressive hovel I live in, so I figured it was worth braving the smog. But when I was walking down Queen Street this caught my eye:
Being the Prince of the Internet that I am, I was surprised I hadn’t heard anything about such an initiative, and I was given to wonder where they got their statistics from (I assumed immediately it was from the Bureau of Pulling Stats Out Of My Ass, actually), but it got me thinking which side of the debate I’d fall on.
As most of you are likely aware at this point, my personal politics fall somewhere left of centre, often quite far to the left in fact. But for whatever reason I’ve not really spent a lot of time developing an opinion on the implications of red-light districts no matter what country they’re in. Maybe it’s because I’m not remotely the type to take advantage of the sorts of services offered there, but it’s just never registered on my radar until now, so I started thinking about it.
Generally speaking, the question the Naughty Canada Coalition is asking is “do you think it’s a good idea to have a red-light district in Canada” and astoundingly, my answer would be “yeah, with a few provisos.” I mean, at the end of the day the sex trade exists, and there’s no getting around it no matter what your personal politics might dictate from a moral standpoint. It’s the oldest trade in the book, and there will always, always be people willing to shell out some hard-earned cash in exchange for some momentary physical entertainment. If you take that into consideration, then it follows you might as well put regulations in place to ensure everybody is having as good a time as possible, as safely as possible. It’s supply and demand, folks, and if it’s going to happen anyway we might as well profit from it. So that’s two provisos in one: taxation and mandatory health screening. And following on the safety route, it’d be a hell of a lot easier for the government to weed out sociopathic pig farmers from the John pool. Good ideas all around.
But it begs the question: where do you put it? NCC is suggesting Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, and on paper all three of those cities make sense. Vancouver already has a burgeoning sex trade, so it would really just be a matter of tidying it up and making it all nice and legal. Toronto is a huge tourist destination and we’ve got an established multicultural and gay-friendly community here, so we get points for variety. And Montreal is French (enough said). But it leads me to wonder how many left-leaners will suddenly develop a serious case of conservatism when the Canadian red-light ends up in their backyard. How many Torontonians, or Montrealers, or indeed Vancouverites will be genuinely comfortable with people trolling for some lovin’ right outside their doors.
Personally it wouldn’t bother me, but not a lot of things do bother me (and if you actually believe that last statement, welcome to the blog because obviously you’ve never read it before).
So I open the debate to you, dear readers – especially those of you living in these particular cities. What are your thoughts on Sexy Street coming to your home town? Will you sample the wares and line up along side the so-called Naughty Canada Coalition or start brandishing signs with incendiary rhetoric incorrectly spelled?
Leave your responses in the comment section, because it’s been a while since I’ve had a good old-fashioned hate mail spree and I’m itching for some feedback.