Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Former dominatrix to receive civil liberties award


The former dominatrix who overturned Canada’s prostitution laws will receive the second annual Ontario Civil Liberties Award in Ottawa next month.
Terri-Jean Bedford, who operated a bondage dungeon in Thornhill, Ont., until it was shut down by police in 1994, challenged Canada’s prostitution laws in court, leading to last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision finding the laws were unconstitutional.
“It’s an outstanding example of what the Ontario Civil Liberties Association stands for,” said Joseph Hickey, executive director of the organization, in an interview Monday morning.
“I want to be remembered for standing against secret rules” said Bedford in a news release. “My motto is that I’ll fight for my rights whether you like it or not.”
Bedford last made headlines when she appeared at a Senate committee hearing in September, in her trademark leather.


Bedford was ejected from the hearing after she threatened to name politicians who employ sex workers.
“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.
Bedford and her supporters are threatening to name names in protest against the government’s bill C-36, which will ban the purchase of sex.
The government introduced the law after Bedford’s successful court challenge. The court gave the government a year to come up with a new law.
Bedford and sex workers argue that the new law will pose the same risk to their safety as the old law, since prostitution will remain illegal, preventing sex workers from taking steps to work safely.
The bill’s supporters argue that the law will help sex workers leave the industry by cracking down on clients and pimps.
The law passed third reading in the House of Commons earlier this month. It is now headed for final hearings in the Senate.
Three weeks ago, Bedford sent a letter to sex workers’ advocacy groups across Canada seeking their input on a plan to publicly “out” politicians who employ sex workers.
smaher@postmedia.com