POLITICS
09/10/2014 07:58 EDT | Updated 11/10/2014 05:59 EST

Terri-Jean Bedford testifying on prostitution bill rewrite

Canada's best-known dominatrix is getting her chance to share her thoughts on the Conservative government's response to the landmark Supreme Court decision that bears her name.

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Terri-Jean Bedford, one of the three applicants behind the legal challenge that brought down Canada's prostitution laws last December, is set to testify before the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee on Wednesday afternoon.  

Her co-appellant, Valerie Scott, is also slated to appear before the committee on Wednesday, although not as part of the same witness panel. Scott is the legal coordinator for Sex Professionals of Canada.

Although Scott and Amy Lebovitch, who was also part of the challenge, testified before the House justice committee in July, Bedford did not.

She did, however, follow those hearings closely, according to her blog, and predicts that the proposed law will ultimately fail in court even after it was amended to narrow the ban on public communications to cover only areas in the vicinity of schoolyards, daycares and playgrounds.

"Changes to or removal of clauses from a fundamentally flawed bill are irrelevant," she wrote in July. 

"It is flawed in its intent. It will be flawed in its implementation. It is flawed as to whether it is itself legal or constitutional. It is flawed in that it will make things worse for women. Its passage will be a victory for human traffickers and organized crime."

On Tuesday, the committee kicked off three days of hearings as part of a 'pre-study' of Justice Minister Peter MacKay's proposed rewrite of Canada's prostitution laws.  

MacKay spent just over an hour fielding questions from senators, who also heard from current and former sex workers, anti-trafficking activists and advocates for sex workers' rights.

The hearings are scheduled to wrap up on Thursday afternoon.

The bill is currently awaiting final House approval, and is expected to be officially referred to the Senate later this fall.

The full list of witnesses scheduled to testify on Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Canada v. Bedford) on Wednesday:

- Casandra Diamond, Director (BridgeNorth)

- Graeme Hamilton, Representative (Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers)

- Leo Russomanno, Member and Criminal Defence Counsel (Criminal Lawyers' Association)

- Megan Walker, Executive Director (London Abused Women's Centre)

- Nana Yanful, Representative (Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers)

- Larissa Crack, Founder, Director (Northern Women's Connection)

- Natasha Falle, Founder (Sextrade 101)

- Cheryl Link, Assistant Director (Northern Women's Connection)

- Diane Matte, Coordinator (Concertation des luttes contre l'exploitation sexuelle)

- Bridget Perrier, Co-Founder, First Nations Educator (Sextrade 101)

- Terri-Jean Bedford, Respondent/appellant on cross-appeal, Canada v. Bedford (As an individual)

- Janine Benedet, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia (As an individual)

- Frances Mahon, lawyer, Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP (As an individual)

- Gwendoline Allison, Lawyer, Foy Allison Law Group (As an individual)

- Trisha Baptie, Community Engagement Coordinator (EVE (Formerly Exploited Voices now Educating))

- Georgialee Lang, Lawyer (As an individual)

- Valerie Scott, Legal Coordinator (Sex Professionals of Canada)