REGINA, Saskatchewan, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Saskatchewan plans to re-outlaw stripping in bars, the province’s premier announced Wednesday.
Premier Brad Wall told reporters that the government plans to reverse a 2012 liquor law adjustment that allowed striptease and other forms of lewd entertainment in venues that also serve alcohol.
That change, which came into effect January 1, 2014, was “the wrong decision” because sex-oriented businesses are associated with organized crime, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking, he said.
“Is this a huge impact with respect to the potential for increased human trafficking or organized crime in the province? Probably not,” Wall said. “But why would we risk it?”
Wall added that according to Saskatchewan police “close to 100 per cent” of strip joints in central Canada are operated by gangs. “We think we made a mistake and we’re fixing it,” he concluded.
Wall told CBC on Thursday that he also has concerns about massage parlours, but the province's avenue to respond is not as clear.
“These kinds of businesses involve potential Criminal Code infractions, which are the federal government's responsibility,” he said. “Is there more that the province can do? I think there is, in this general area.”
While Premier Wall indicated the new regulations will be in place within several weeks, some Saskatchewan cities are already restricting this form of “adult entertainment” in bars, or outlawing strip clubs altogether.
In January Regina city council voted 9 to 1 against a proposal to allow an alcohol-licensed strip club.
Although the location of the proposed strip club at the former Whiskey Saloon on Park Street met the city's zoning bylaw requirements, councillors cited safety concerns and moral responsibility in their rejection of the bid. “We made the right decision,” said Mayor Michael Fougere. “Council acted under its discretion, as is right under the law, to say no to the application.”
Two years ago the city council of Saskatoon approved a bylaw that eliminated all residential areas and the downtown core as possible locations for new “adult entertainment” businesses, and restricted existing strip clubs to the outlying industrial areas.
“We don't have any strip clubs operating in Saskatoon,” city councillor Darren Hill told QMI Agency at the time, noting there hadn't been a strip club in the city for a “number of years.”
When council debated the proposed bylaw, Councillor Pat Lorje said she believed the province made the 2012 liquor law change in a misguided effort to appear to be trendy, but added that what she would really like to see is strip tease performances totally banned from Saskatoon.
“While I appreciate the provincial government wants to be seen as being ‘with it,’ it is something they did without consultation to the cities and is something I believe many citizens in Saskatoon have no appetite for,” Lorje told CKOM Radio.
“We know based on the experience of other cities that sex-orientated businesses do create crime in the immediate areas and in the communities,” Lorje said.