The city has launched an investigation into the conduct of some of its bylaw officers in relation to allegations from women working in the city’s holistic centres — also known as body rub parlors.
The women reported being forced to take off their clothes to show officers their undergarments and have photos taken of them without their consent.
The allegations were brought forward Tuesday at the Licensing and Standards committee meeting by holistic centre staff and advocacy groups as part of a review into how the city regulates and enforces issues regarding these businesses.
Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam said she’s met with about 10 women working at the parlours who have brought forward allegations of sexual harassment and violence. She says many are from a Chinese background, speak little English and felt they are being racially targeted by the city.
“They felt that there was discrimination in the way that they are being treated. They felt that having an officer come in three to four times a week to physically inspect their business and being asked repeated questions of I.D. checks, they felt that was rather punitive,” Wong-Tam said. “It was very disruptive to their business and some of the more serious allegations would include bylaw officers asking the women, or holistic practitioners, to disrobe and show them their undergarments which I believe is completely inappropriate and it is a form of sexual violence.”
A recent petition launched by the Holistic Practitioners Alliance also alleges the women were forced to sing for the officer’s entertainment, told to stand as a form of punishment and barred from using the bathroom during an inspection.
Tracey Cook, executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS), told CityNews in a statement Wednesday that the city has launched an investigation as a result of the complaints brought forward.
“The concerns raised through the deputations yesterday will be investigated,” Cook said in a statement. “We have met with and will continue to meet with some of the groups that spoke yesterday to get their feedback and hear their concerns. The City takes complaints of staff misconduct very seriously and have mechanisms in place for investigation once they are received. City staff are expected to conduct themselves professionally at all times.”
The city recently hired five new bylaw officers after the 2017 Auditor General’s report called for an increase in inspections on holistic centres. As of late 2016, there were 410 such licensed locations in Toronto. The City said as many as a quarter of those appeared to be offering unauthorized services such as erotic massages.
The Holistic Practitioners Alliance says in the past five years, MLS has increased the number of inspections conducted from 500 times in 2013 to more than 1,700 in 2016.
None of these allegations have been proven. The city will continue to enforce bylaws and inspect holistic centres while the allegations are being investigated.
Abortion activists with Planned Parenthood complained that two new laws signed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam this week will “hurt women of color.”
Implying a possible racist motivation, the abortion chain’s Tennessee branch slammed the governor Wednesday because he signed two laws to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups of state taxpayer dollars.
“This hurts patients. It prevents them from seeing a healthcare provider they choose. Specifically, in our area, reproductive healthcare is difficult to access for some people,” said Sarah Wallet, the medical director for Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis. “There’s a lot of stigma surrounding reproductive healthcare. This will especially hurt women of color.”
At best, the claim is far-fetched. Women still have plenty of places to go in Tennessee to seek health care, and neither law reduces funding; they merely redirect it to groups that offer comprehensive healthcare but not abortions.
Federally-qualified community health centers vastly outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities in Tennessee and provide much more comprehensive health care. A 2015 comparison showed 187 service sites in Tennessee compared to just four Planned Parenthoods.
At worst, Wallet’s statement is hypocritical. Planned Parenthood targets minority women and their unborn babies for abortions. One analysis found that Planned Parenthood placed 79 percent of its abortion facilities within walking distance of minority neighborhoods. Many believe its founder, Margaret Sanger, also targeted blacks as part of her eugenic beliefs.
The abortion rate is disproportionately high in the black American community. Even though black Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, 35 percent of the babies killed in abortions are black, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The black genocide of abortion is disturbingly evident in New York City, where state data shows more black babies are aborted than are born.
David Suzuki wants to crush the engine of Alberta’s economy. Why give him an honorary degree?
In a questionable (and bad) move, the University of Alberta is giving David Suzuki an honorary degree, even as Suzuki’s efforts to demonize the Trans Mountain pipeline are part of a growing national crisis.
As reported by the Calgary Herald, “Environmentalist David Suzuki will be one of 13 people given an honorary degree from the University of Alberta this spring, a news release said Tuesday.”
Additionally, “An honorary degree is our learning community’s highest honour,” U of A chancellor Douglas Stollery said in the release. “I look forward to hearing the perspectives of each of these inspiring individuals during our spring convocation.”
This is a big mistake.
David Suzuki has been constantly advocating against the energy industry that drives Alberta’s economy and is a key source of Canada’s prosperity. Of course, Suzuki has no trouble using the product of that industry to fly around the world and get driven from place to place.
In his arrogance, Suzuki thinks it’s fine for him to benefit from the oil industry, while trying to wreck it for others who aren’t as rich and powerful as he is.
‘Honoring’ him, especially at an Alberta university, is really a slap in the face to everybody in the oil industry, and to all Canadians who benefit from that industry.
If Suzuki had his way, Canada would be a far poorer nation, and his radical ideology should be criticized, not praised.