AS a leader of the Family Coalition Party of Ontario, I am angered by the adult entertainment industry seeking out new strippers in our Ontario high schools. I find it unconscionable that we would stand by and allow strip clubs to profit by exploiting Ontario’s teens. I can only describe this as a predatory act- luring teens with the prospect of earning tuition money to take off their clothes and devalue themselves in front of satisfied customers.
Our schools have been at the centre of controversy since the Liberal minority government took office. I have spent the past five months traveling the province advocating against Bill 13, what I now call the Biased Schools Act, which recently passed into law. Eighty percent of the 85 presentations made to Standing Committee over that bill either expressed serious concern or outright rejection of the bill. The education minister ignored these concerns. The PC party tried to amend the bill with parts of their own Bill 14, which would have offered legislative protection from bullying to all students, but were repeatedly voted down. The Drummond report recommended that, as a cost-saving measure for the province, the McGuinty government should scrap all-day kindergarten. The Premier said no. Now, the adult entertainment industry is not only knocking on the doors of our Ontario schools, but has brought the stripper pole with them . If Mr. McGuinty really is trying to be known as the ‘Education Premier’ then he has to step up to this issue and deal with it decisively.
I understand that there are already elements of sexuality in our high schools. Teens are learning about their bodies as they mature and are developing feelings and relationships during this time, and of course most school sports teams have cheerleader tryouts. But now, instead of pom-poms and school cheers, our daughters will have poles set up after school where they will be paid to dance provocatively- and naked. Oh maybe not in the school gym. But in clubs- dark taverns, on a spotlighted stages, where older men sip alcohol and fantasize about our daughters’ gyrating bodies for their personal satisfaction.
I am calling on Premier McGuinty to raise the legal age of exotic dancers from 18 to 21. Adults can make their own decisions, but keep this out of our schools. It has no place there. Schools are supposed to be places of learning, not lewdness.