Monday April 30, 2012

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Monday April 30, 2012

Three lower-city councillors are backing a federal push against legalizing brothels.

Councillors Sam Merulla, Chad Collins and Bernie Morelli say they’re concerned about a recent provincial court decision that struck down the ban on bawdy houses.

Now, Merulla says he’s formally asking his council colleagues to back a federal government appeal announced Wednesday of the reformed prostitution laws.

“If the Ontario Court of Appeal decision is left unchallenged, it could see the introduction of brothels within Hamilton and other communities in Ontario,” they said in a statement.

The trio — who represent the central and eastern areas of the lower city — say legalizing brothels would condone prostitution and hurt their neighbourhoods.

“I think we speak for the vast majority of Hamiltonians, Ontarians and Canadians,” Merulla said Thursday.

But Merulla’s motion is already stirring up some discomfort — for sex workers, and for one of his colleagues.

Angel, who lives in Morelli’s ward, has been a sex worker for 36 years. She’s unsure why her councillor would concern himself with what happens within the privacy of her apartment.

“I think it’s ridiculous. I think he has other things that are more important to worry about in the neighbourhood, like the drug trade and crack houses,” she said.

“I think he should just leave people alone who are just trying to live honestly and not hurt anyone.” (Source: Hamilton Spectator)