Tuesday, May 22

Legislation just a bump and grind

It is hard to understand why the federal Conservative government, having been in power for so little time, has decided the plight of exotic dancers needs to be pushed to the top of the national agenda.

It has the look of political opportunism, with the idea of sustaining the spectre of Liberal scandal. Finley says the new legislation was merely a response to the previous Liberal government's scandal in which former immigration minister Judy Sgro fast-tracked immigration papers of a Romanian stripper who worked on her election campaign.

Said Finley: "The good old days of Liberal Stripper-gate will be a thing of the past."

In 2005, after the rules were tightened up by the Liberals, 10 people were admitted into the country with temporary work permits for the purpose of working as exotic dancers.

Said Annie Temple, who operates an advocacy website for strippers: "Keeping foreign exotic dancers out of Canada will not address the issue of exploitation. If the Conservative government is truly concerned about exploitation of exotic dancers, then they should focus on ensuring health and safety standards exist at strip clubs." Fair enough.

If there are problems with the industry, address them. Simply barring foreign strippers, while leaving whatever problems exist to Canadian workers cannot be a pragmatic solution.

Finley will likely continue to paint this legislation as a humanitarian gesture, but she has not made a convincing argument for the need for a new law, which will take up the time of parliamentary committees.

Bill C-57 is too half-hearted to be taken seriously and it is not an effective use of a valuable government legislative agenda.

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