RESPONSE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CANADA TO THE ONTARIO COURT OF APPEAL DECISION ON THE BEDFORD PROSTITUTION CHALLENGE

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OTTAWA, April 25, 2012 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, made the following statement today concerning the Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford.

"After careful consideration of the legal merits of the March 26, 2012, ruling from the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Government of Canada will seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

"The Government of Canada is pleased that the Court of Appeal affirmed the validity of the offence of communicating in public for the purpose of prostitution (s. 213(1)(c) of the Criminal Code).

"However, the Government is of the view that a binding, national decision is needed on the constitutionality of Criminal Code s.210 (keeping a common bawdy house) and s. 212(1)(j) (living on the avails of prostitution).

"It is our position that the Criminal Code provisions are constitutionally sound. It is important to clarify the constitutionality of the law and remove the uncertainty this decision has created.

"The Criminal Code provisions denounce and deter the most harmful and public aspects of prostitution.

"As the matter is before the court, the Government will not comment further."

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