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Supreme Court Decision: Bradley Barton to face re-trial in death of Cindy Gladue

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

Supreme Court Decision of a Re-trial of the Man who Caused Cindy Gladue’s Death is Good, but overall Judgment is Disappointing

Date: Friday, May 24, 2019

Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered its decision in the case of Barton v. Her Majesty the Queen, that Bradley Barton - who by his own admission, caused Cindy Gladue’s death, and was found not guilty of her murder in 2015 – will face a new trial for manslaughter.

The Women’s Equality and Liberty Coalition, an intervener made an oral submission on the case to the Supreme Court of Canada is disappointed by the judgment. 

According to Trisha Baptie, founder of EVE (Formerly Exploited Voices Now Educating): “This case held many negative stereotypes, addressing racism is a very important step but re-labelling prostitution as sex work is not the solution. Polite words that hide the truth are not what is needed, discussing the root problem is. Prostitution is active misogyny and a form of violence against women, Ms. Gladue could not consent to anything under those conditions, and.Barton must be held accountable for all of his actions that lead up to and caused her violent death.”

“We hoped the Court would see that systemic misogyny motivates male violence against women, including male demand for prostitution. We expected the Court would take into account the fact that Canadian law recognizes women’s participation in prostitution is a consequence of profound racial and sexual inequality. This decision fails racialized women on both those points,” says Suzanne Jay of Asian Women for Equality.

Diane Matte from La Concertation des Luttes Contre L’Exploitation Sexuelle (La CLES) comments; “The Barton case reveals how deep-seated the myths are when it comes to why women (particularly, in this case, Indigenous women) enter the sex trade and the reality of that experience. Calling her a "sex worker" doesn’t change the fact that this particular man thought she was at his service and disposable. Since the Criminal Code was amended in 2014, buying sex is defined as a crime against the person and the notion of consent is no longer relevant so we can only hope that women like Cindy Gladue will have more protection and that the men buying them will be charged for this crime.”

MiKenze Jordan for the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN): “This case is another example of the colonial, patriarchal systems that continue to impact the lives of Indigenous women. Indigenous women are often portrayed as women who invite, enjoy and deserve the harms that men inflict on them, it only lends to the notion that all Indigenous women are available for men’s sexual use. The “buying” of sex is male violence. Indigenous women deserve more, we deserve a life of safety, equality and freedom. We will use our voice for those who cannot. We will use our voices for Cindy Gladue. We will fight for a life free from violence for all women!”

Link to the Supreme Court judgement

The Women's Equality and Liberty Coalition's written submission and oral submission (at the 2:55 time mark)

The Women’s Equality and Liberty Coalition is made up of six organizations with front-line expertise on men’s prostitution/commercial sexual exploitation of women as well as other forms of male violence, including wife battering, incest, sexual assault and sexual harassment: Vancouver Rape Relief Society, La Concertation des Luttes Contre L’Exploitation Sexuelle (La CLES); Asian Women For Equality Society; Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN); Formerly Exploited Voices Now Educating (EVE) and CEASE: Centre To End All Sexual Exploitation.

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