Archive for the ‘Library of Parliament’ Category

Prostitution in Canada: International Obligations, Federal Law, and Provincial and Municipal Jurisdiction

June 8, 2012 Comments off

Prostitution in Canada: International Obligations, Federal Law, and Provincial and Municipal Jurisdiction
Source: Library of Parliament

Canada’s approach to dealing with prostitution beyond its borders and within them is a multifaceted one, involving a combination of criminal laws at the federal level, provincial/territorial laws and municipal solutions that highlight the various jurisdictional responsibilities at play. While prostitution (consensual sex between two adults for consideration1) is legal in Canada, most activities surrounding the act of prostitution – including public solicitation, pimping, operating a brothel, trafficking in persons and the commercial sexual exploitation of children – are prohibited.

This paper provides an overview of how jurisdictions across Canada handle the question of prostitution, from negotiating Canada’s international obligations in this regard, to implementing federal criminal laws and provincial/territorial and municipal measures to deal with specific issues at a practical level.

CA — Freedom of Religion and Religious Symbols in the Public Sphere

August 8, 2011 Comments off

Freedom of Religion and Religious Symbols in the Public Sphere
Source: Library of Parliament (Canada)

The issue of religious symbols in the public sphere has given rise to widespread debate on the scope of freedom of religion in various countries around the world. In our modern environment of globalization and unprecedented international migration flows, traditionally homogenous nations face the blurring of established spheres of cultural identity, and, in some cases, governments are changing laws, policies, and politics in an effort to manage these shifts. The various political, legislative, and judicial treatments of this issue have given rise to differing interpretations of freedom of religion as defined through domestic and international laws.

Among the most prominent of the religious symbols at stake in current debates is the Islamic headscarf, or hijab. The headscarf is worn by a female over her head, generally covering her hair, ears, and neck. Hijab also has the meaning of female modesty in dress and, for some Muslim women, may involve wearing a large loose garment that can cover the hands and face – a burqa; or a veil that leaves only a slit for the eyes – a niqab. Hijab is an integral part of Qur’anic teachings for a large part of the Muslim world, but there is little agreement on whether it is absolutely prescribed.

Within the Sikh faith, the turban and kirpan are among the five religious obligations of Orthodox Sikh males. Sikh men must keep their hair uncut and wrapped in a turban as a symbol of respect for God. The kirpan is a curved ceremonial dagger, usually about 20 centimetres long with a blunt tip, which is generally worn underneath clothing. The kirpan serves as a reminder of the constant struggle between good and evil.

In debates involving the Jewish faith, it is the kippa, or yarmulke, a small skullcap worn as a symbol of submission to God by some Jewish males, that is often at issue. In addition, some Orthodox Jews build succahs, structures made of wood and covered with cedar branches, to be used each year for nine days during the autumn festival of Sukkot to commemorate the difficult conditions Jews faced after fleeing Egypt.

An aspect of the more traditionally Western Christian faith, the crucifix is a representation of the Christian cross with a figure of Christ on it. Often hung on the wall, crucifixes may be found in churches, classrooms, courtrooms, and legislative buildings throughout the Western world. Crucifixes may also be worn as a pendant on a necklace.

The most prominent disputes over religious symbols in the public sphere have involved religious headcoverings – one of the most immediately obvious demonstrations of one’s faith that automatically distinguishes Muslims, Sikhs, and Jews from the larger, mostly Christian population in the Western world. The recent rise of immigrants in Europe has meant that headcoverings have become significant symbols of difference, provoking debate about their role in the public sphere.

Hat tip: Library Boy

CA – Trafficking in Persons

August 8, 2011 Comments off

Trafficking in Persons
Source: Library of Parliament (Canada)

Trafficking in persons has become one of the most pressing issues in global migration policy. The illegal transportation and harbouring of people for the purposes of forced service and other forms of exploitation is a violation of internationally and domestically recognized human rights. Organizations have arrived at different estimates concerning the extent of this global problem, partly because of differences in the interpretation of the term, but primarily because the clandestine nature of the crimes involved makes it difficult to produce accurate statistics. The United Nations (UN) has previously estimated that 700,000 people are trafficked annually worldwide, though it has most recently reported that any estimates made to date have been controversial due to the difficulty in determining “with any precision how many victims of human trafficking there are, where they come from or where they are going.”

This paper will discuss the concept of trafficking in general terms and provide an overview of the legislative framework surrounding the issue at the international level and within the Canadian context. It will conclude with a discussion of potential gaps in Canadian legislation and policy with respect to trafficking in persons.

Hat tip: Library Boy


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