Canada Doesn’t Have Shortage of Strippers, Professor Says

Rhett Pardon
TORONTO — A University of Toronto professor says there is no shortage of native-borne strippers in Canada, contrary to government claims.

Law professor Audrey Macklin was commenting on the Canadian program for exotic dancers, which has come under scrutiny since Immigration Minister Judy Sgro granted permanent resident status to a Romanian dancer who worked on her campaign.

Last year more than 500 Romanians received temporary visas to come to Canada under the program. The foreign exotic dancers are often trained in other occupations such as nursing and teaching.

Sgro came under attack in the House of Commons on Friday over her office's decision to extend a residence permit to the stripper. "I deny any allegation," of wrongdoing, Sgro said at a government hearing on the "Strippergate" affair.

Macklin said the real reason strip clubs want foreign dancers is that they are desperate and will do things Canadian women consider too unsafe or demeaning.

“What in fact the demand is for these days is for women to lap dance, and not just lap dance but basically to be on some guy's lap naked while he gropes her and may masturbate under her and that sort of stuff," Macklin said. “There's also a shortage of women who are willing to work in so-called private booths where they do stripping, whatever they do in a private booth, just for one man."

Macklin said there’s “a tendency to depict these women as sluts and whores and prostitutes and say, 'Why are we letting them in at all?' Well, a lot of them are in fact trained in other occupations but we claim not to need those occupations.

"A lot of them actually have university education but this is where the demand is and this is what the visas will be issued for. On the one hand, we don't acknowledge the skills they have and then when they enter using the only way they have, we disparage them."

But Toronto attorney Mendel Green, who has handled a number of strip-club cases for the Adult Entertainment Association, disagrees with Macklin, saying there isn’t an adequate supply of Canadian dancers.

"They're a critical sort of product in the entertainment industry that is not readily available in Canada,” he said.

Sgro says as a result of the controversy, the stripper visa program will change by next month.

"As of Dec. 15, the program will be changed completely,” she said. “If there is a need, it will have to be done on a case-by-case basis."