Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Let me do a few tricks, some old and then some new tricks

Judy Sgro's pal the Romanian stripper is in good company: Ottawa and Toronto — Immigration Minister Judy Sgro says she's trying to shut down a temporary worker program that allows foreign women to come to Canada to be exotic dancers, a program that helped make the Toronto Liberal a target because she granted a visa extension to a Romanian stripper who worked on her election campaign. [...] The exotic dancer, whose case has fanned political controversy because she was a volunteer in Ms. Sgro's election campaign office, was one of 552 Romanian women granted temporary work visas last year to perform in strip clubs. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada says not enough Canadian women want to be exotic dancers to meet the demand. Ergo the federal government subsidizes the import thereof. I have to admit, I did a double-take on reading that earlier today; I'd assumed that the Sgro Stripper Scandal was an isolated case, not one of hundreds of resident aliens doing the same. I'm not a prude. I have no problem with Romanian women emigrating to Canada in order to become strippers; obviously it's an attractive option compared to jobs they can find at home, or there'd be a lot fewer than 552. I do have a problem with this government policy, because it seeks to deny market forces. If demand outstrips supply, exotic dancing jobs have to offer some improvement in either pay or working conditions, and that's the whole of it. What I see here is the Canadian government subsidizing the cost of a non-essential good or service by artificially depressing the costs of doing business, and that's poor economic planning no matter what the non-essential good or service may be. Essentials like public utilities, I can at least see the arguments for; strippers, I can't.

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