Free Speech

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
canada, grandstanding


Canadian Politicians Jump On The 'Censor Craigslist' Bandwagon

from the if-it-worked-south-of-the-border... dept

Thought we were done with the silly political grandstanding against Craigslist, which won't stop child trafficking, but will actually help the scumbags who are involved in the practice? No such luck. Apparently politicians in other countries have seen how politically successful such grandstanding is, and are using the same tactics against Craigslist. Some Ontario politicians are now demanding that Craigslist takedown its adult section in Canada (Craigslist only self-censored the section in the US). Of course, as in the US, this won't help law enforcement stop prostitution and child trafficking. It will only serve to drive it further underground and make it harder to track and stop. But I'm sure it makes for good-looking headlines, even if it makes the problem worse.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2010 @ 2:53am

    Craiglist is easy, environmental issues, healthcare, true security and other issues are hard, no wonder those like to take on Craiglist it is the path of least resistance.

    But the sad thing, is that there are people who believe in those fairy tales.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Amused Coward, 13 Oct 2010 @ 2:56am


    Interesting timing:

    Prostitut ion is not, and never was*, illegal in Canada. Public advertising of such services is illegal, but the act itself was and remains legal.

    So the ruling mentioned above should cover craiglist as well, one thinks...

    * In recent times, anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David Liu, 13 Oct 2010 @ 3:07pm

      Re: Timing

      If that's true, then at least it makes a bit more sense. While you could argue that it drives prostitution services underground in the US and harder for the police to track, prostitution being legal in Canada means that the police don't care about tracking prostitution through Craigslist and takes away the argument for having an Adult section on Craigslist over there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 13 Oct 2010 @ 4:44am

    Loud Minority...

    These three cabinet ministers have little influence in Ontario luckily. Its not likely with the current minority government they will actually get anything but grandstanding accomplished.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mike C. (profile), 13 Oct 2010 @ 5:47am

    Would love to see...

    I would love to see Craigslist censor itself again, but with a public campaign of...

    "Craigslist is once again heeding the advice of grandstanding politicians in their efforts to garner votes. Rather than spend our hard-earned capital on lawyers fighting these baseless requests, we're instead going to let Canadian families suffer and force police to become less effective by censoring our Adult Services section. Complaints over our new policy can be addressed to your local politicians."

    /truth hurts
    //if only it could hurt political careers

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    NullOp, 13 Oct 2010 @ 6:33am


    The one and only reason anyone, anywhere want to censor Craigslist is that it has not been "properly" monetized. Meaning, no Big-Corp is raping the users!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Trails (profile), 13 Oct 2010 @ 7:01am

    It should be noted

    At the time when I read this, the story has 21 comments, all of them disagree with the action taken by the provincial ministers.

    It should be noted that prostitution was recently decriminalized in Ontario:

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jesse, 13 Oct 2010 @ 7:45am

      Re: It should be noted

      Yea really weird timing given the recent ruling. I mean like within the last month recent. This is kind of going the wrong way as far as implementing the ruling.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        TtfnJohn (profile), 13 Oct 2010 @ 3:55pm

        Re: Re: It should be noted

        One more time, with feeling!

        Prostitution isn't and hasn't been illegal in Canada. The judge in the case in question struck down the "living off the avails of prostitution", "keeping a common bawdy house" and "communication for the purposes of prostitution" laws as unconstitutional.

        So, with that in mind, Craigslist is doing nothing wrong. Neither are the classified sections of every large urban newspaper in the country when they run page after page of "escort service" and "body rub" parlor ads. Nor are the Yellow Pages which have page upon page of both.

        Apparently there's an election in the offing in Ontario and the government appears to be afraid it might lose so now this starts up.

        Can we legislate against living off the avails of politicstusion or some such thing? We'd be far better off.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark, 13 Oct 2010 @ 8:26am

    And Here's The Problem

    Some people actually think this worked and was affective. In a completely unrelated article but referring to AG's getting together, there is this lovely tidbit.

    Joint investigations by state attorneys general have achieved some successes in recent years. Online ad publisher Craigslist, for example, shut down its adult services section amid pressure from 17 attorneys general. The AGs had maintained there weren't enough protections against potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution and child trafficking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    trrll (profile), 13 Oct 2010 @ 8:50am

    Another victory for the pimp lobby!

    One can't help wondering if the pimps are paying off politicians to support these bills. Can't have the girls going into business for themselves. They might decide to save their money, get an education, and go into a better line of work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Smith, 13 Oct 2010 @ 9:17am

    impact of craigslist

    Twenty years ago most large Canadian cities had a "problem" with street prostitution. In partioular with prostitutes in the better parts of their downtowns catering to the upscale clientle ( a significant percentage of whom were apparently lawyers, judges and politicians )

    Craigslist has done away with all of that.

    There may be traficking going on on Craigslist but most of the ads have pictures and telephone numbers so the opportunity to monitor and police the activity is much better than it was before Craigslist.

    Craigslist has made the market for sexual services more efficient with better outcomes for the providers, the customers and the general public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), 13 Oct 2010 @ 3:59pm

    Why am I not surprised?

    Grandstanding is so much easier than actually doing something and less likely to cost re-election as imposing the HST is likely to do. (This goes for the liars that are in government in BC, as well.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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