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Update: Slacktivist to Abolitionist

Remember the time I emailed my MP about human trafficking and the sex trade here in Canada? (Here's why I did it.)

Well. Last Thursday, I got an email from her assistant; would I be available for a phone call with Dr. Bennett tomorrow at 10:30am? No…but after 12:30? 1:40 it is.

A personal phone call. From my MP. I was a bit nervous, let me tell you. I am not politically savvy. I am not well-informed. And people in positions of authority intimidate me.

Then I realized that BillC-310, the specific bill I’d mentioned in my email, was being debated at 1:30pm that Friday. Wait a second! I thought, If she’s talking with me, she can’t be at the debate! That seems counter-productive…

And then she called. And I was nervous. And it was fine.

Here are the take-aways from our phone call:

  1. Ending human trafficking should be a non-partisan issue.
  2. Human-trafficking & the victimization of women and children through the sex trade is a multi-faceted, complex issue.
  3. The solutions to these problems lay in the intersection of legislation, enforcement, and awareness-building. I need to be pro-actively considering my responsibilities as an awareness-builder, even as I call on my legislators to do their part.
  4. My MP is listening and encouraging community engagement and involvement on the issues that matter.

I will admit, I hold onto a level of uncertainty about how much impact my one voice can have. But I do feel that I’ve established an initial connection with my MP, and that Dr. Bennett is, at the very least, amenable to hearing more from me and open to being involved in a round-table event in our community. I also feel that she was gracious with my lack of political savvy (I’m not sure whether I am less-informed than the average Canadian or whether an MP, after years of public service, simply speaks a language I am not remotely fluent in).

As the Critic for Aboriginal Affairs, Dr. Bennett has some keen concerns about trafficking and victimization of women within our own borders, and I was reminded that we (as a nation) have failed aboriginal peoples in so many ways… this is a related and tragic vein of thought that opens up an entirely separate, complex and massive area in which I would like to see growth and change…

It turns out she was in the House while calling me (how does that work??); shortly after we spoke, the House passed Bill C-310 and it’s on to the Senate. And the federal government is appealing the Ontario ruling regarding legalizing prostitution, so things are happening.

Problem-solving on a national level is never simple and threatens to overwhelm me today. But I can do a small part, and if all of us do just that much, I believe it would add up to significant change, increased safety for vulnerable people, and perhaps even get us closer to justice.


Laura said…
This is awesome!! I truly believe that the majority of people who go into politics actually want to do a good job, serve their constituents and see things change for the better. It just gets messy after a while.
Wow. Great job, Beth. I'm encouraged and inspired to speak up for things I am passionate about and that need to be said - whether or not I feel that I'm the most knowledgeable about all things surrounding these issues.
vanman91 said…
You are more informed and articulate than many of your peers and have chosen your isues with care and sensitivity. Keep up the good work (and pressure)!

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