Friday, May 18, 2007

Stripping away the facts: Harper admited more strippers than Martin

While reading a number of stories on the Conservative’ stripper legislation, thanks to a Google search gone horribly wrong, something didn’t quite jive. I mean, besides the fact that it’s needless and pointless legislation that shows the Conservatives have totally run out of ideas.

The issue is the stats contrasting dancers admitted under the Liberals vs. the Conservatives. Here’s how the story I read first, from CTV, framed the matter:

In 2004, when Liberal Paul Martin was prime minister, there were 423 visas issued for foreign exotic dancers.

Since Conservative Stephen Harper took over in early 2006, 17 permits have been issued -- seven so far this year.
Reading that you’re no doubt thinking wow, Martin was one foreign stripper lovin’ son of a guy that helped found medicare, wasn’t he? I mean, 423! And that Stephen Harper, he really must be doing something right, only 17 under his watch! Such a nice boy, young Stephen. Right?

Well, not quite. It occurred to me that it was odd CTV chose 2004 as their year of comparison, as Martin governed for all of 2005 as well. How many dancers, I wondered, were admitted under Martin in 2005? And why did CTV not include figures from 2005?

Maybe because this happened in 2005:
…documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show the previous Liberal government had already issued directives to embassies to make it harder for foreign strippers to obtain temporary work permits.
Hmm, that’s interesting. Without any big splashy legislation either, the Liberals took decisive action to curtail the number of foreign exotic dancers coming to Canada. And what impact did this have on, say, the 2005 figures?
As a result, the number of new permits issued to foreign exotic dancers fell to fewer than 10 in 2005 from 67 in 2004, according to government statistics.

How about that. It seems the Liberals accomplished a massive reduction in the number of foreign dancers admitted to Canada without splashy grandstanding legislation. Results for Canadians, you might say. Also makes CTV’s little comparison look rather foolish, doesn’t it?

There’s something else too. CTV says 423 permits were issued in 2004, the Globe and Mail says only 67 were issued in 2004. Either way the drop was still sharp in 2005, but that’s a big gap. Who is wrong here? Given what seems to be a deliberately misleading comparison by leaving out the 2005 numbers, I’m betting it’s CTV.

And another thing. Let’s take a closer look at those numbers.

Foreign exotic dancers admitted in 2005, under the Martin Liberals
: Fewer than 10
Foreign exotic dancers admitted in 2006, under the Harper Conservatives
: 17 since January 2006 minus 7 so far this year equals 10 in 2006

Now, my Grade 11 math tells me that “fewer than 10” is less than “10” which means Harper admitted at least one more foreign stripper in 2006 than Martin did in 2005. A minor difference I admit, but it puts lie to the pious Conservative rhetoric on the issue doesn’t it?

And Harper has already admitted 7 this year, and it’s only May. He’s well on pace for well over 14 in 2007. Unless this is just the stripper high season or something. It is spring, after all…

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Prairie Kid said...

First of all, the government in power has no right to say who gets a visa. They can make laws to restrict access but they can't say who can or cannot enter the country.

Secondly, why did the Liberals cut stripper immigration in 2005? Because Judy Sgro embarassed the government. So Paul Martin sent a directive to the passport office to stop the practice. (which is government interference)

Mark Dowling said...

"First of all, the government in power has no right to say who gets a visa. They can make laws to restrict access but they can't say who can or cannot enter the country."

Actually, they can. Most legislation is a framework on which detailed policy is built.

Bill C-57 is such a piece of legislation, which amends IRPA to delegate a public policy authority to the Minister to define groups that are not admissible to Canada other than those specified under Sections 33-42.

It was Joe Volpe who made a change to HRSDC regulations in Dec 2004 which removed strippers from "national labour market shortage" acknowledgement (see Dec 6 2004 entry) but this merely meant strip clubs could show this on a case by case basis. The Tory amendment affects immigration law by saying if a job is degrading then labour market considerations don't ever apply - which has implications for the notion of letting Canadians do a job too degrading to let a foreigner do it...

CIC claim the existing Act didn't have enough discretionary authority - thus the amendment. Parliament can vote down the amendment - let's see what how'd they vote says when it comes up.

The proposed changes to S.30 means that a refusal must be confirmed by another visa official. Also, any restrictions made will be published in the Canada Gazette and the annual IRPA report (S.94).

Dimmy said...

Really! It's time you got the straight goods. It's time to google ... cbc-n-ya