Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Conference Call with the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch

Today was an exciting day.

I participated in a two hour conference call with Kari Toovey, Policy Analyst with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General Liquor Control and Licensing Branch; Donna Lister, a Regional Manager with Compliance and Enforcement for the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch; and Susan Davis – sex worker extraordinaire.

During this conversation, we spoke about some of the abuses inspectors have committed against exotic dancers and strip clubs in general through their individual interpretations of the regulations, as well as some ways in which inspectors can and do treat exotic dancers – females will often behave with disgust towards dancers, males will often use their power to barge into change rooms or VIP booths, with sexual undertones to their behaviour.

We gave them historical context to the sex industry and modern context of how enforcement, destabilizing safe work spaces, and abuses of power in general by government officials has led to increased vulnerability of sex industry workers. We explained how stigma impairs workers’ abilities to make complaints and/or engage with officials – fear of retaliation against clubs they work in by police officers and inspectors etc.

Then we went regulation by regulation through the proposed revisions. One by one, they gave their interpretation of each regulation, and I gave an accurate representation of how that regulation impacts the industry, or how it does not even reflect the industry – whichever the case may be.

Susie was awesome at providing historical and modern context to their comments and questions. All in all, it was a great conversation and we were able to get the policy analyst to admit that there is no law against exotic dancers taking tips in BC. We’ve asked for a memo to be sent to all inspectors saying so, and we will follow up on this request in the days to come. We also asked that whatever revisions do come out of our discussions be viewed and vetted by industry members before the final document is in place.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like your association is starting to become something like a trade union or a guild? Definitely in the interests of the dancers.