Faith leaders in Victoria are condemning the approach taken by the Harper government and Abbotsford’s police Chief Bob Rich in insisting on treating prostitution as a criminal offence.
Rich’s Abbotsford Police Department (APD) recently recommended bawdy house charges in Abbotsford despite the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision that such charges are unconstitutional.
Faith leaders in Victoria have denounced the approach summed up by Rev. Alastair McCollum from St. John the Divine who told the Victoria Times Colonist, “My reason for endorsing this is based on my conviction there is no one of any less value than someone else.”
How Rich intends to square his political stance on prostitution with his stated religious beliefs remains and his role as a police officer remains to be seen.
Rich’s approach to drugs, drug addiction and homelessness resembles much of what faith leaders are condemning.[excerpt] Faith leaders in Victoria and across the country are speaking out against a federal prostitution bill they say increases potential dangers for sex workers and is immoral.
“This is a human rights issue,” said Bruce Bryant-Scott, rector at St. Matthias Anglican Church. “We’re concerned about the health, safety and lives of sex workers.”
On Friday, he released a statement of concern about the legislation signed by a consortium of 34 clergy and faith groups. Most are Anglicans from Vancouver Island; about half are women. They include hospital chaplains, university professors, nuns, a reverend mother from Toronto, First Nations and divinity students.[source]