Peter MacKay open to amendments to proposed prostitution law
Minister will appear before House committee studying the bill next week
Justice Minister Peter MacKay says he's open to amending the federal government's proposed prostitution law.
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The minister says he's looking forward to taking part in committee hearings in Ottawa that will review the bill, starting Monday.
MacKay says the Conservative government is open to constructive changes, but he says the bill is constitutionally sound and adequately responds to a Supreme Court decision that recently struck down parts of the existing law.
He says the committee is under pressure to act quickly because the court ruling stipulates that a new law must be in place within a year, which is why hearings are being held in the summer.
The bill criminalizes the purchase of sexual services, targets those who benefit from prostitution and outlaws the sale of sex near schools and other places where children gather.
Some sex trade workers and their supporters have argued the bill will leave prostitutes more open to violence because it will force them to move to more isolated areas.
The government says the new offences are intended to reduce demand for sexual services, shield sex workers from exploitation and safeguard children and communities.