Calgary police chief calls $20M to help prostitutes ‘woefully inadequate’

Calgary’s police chief says the Harper government’s $20-million pledge to help sex workers get out of the industry is “woefully inadequate.”

OTTAWA — Calgary’s police chief says the Harper government’s $20-million pledge to help sex workers get out of the industry is “woefully inadequate.”

Chief Rick Hanson offered that assessment Tuesday during the second day of hearings by the House of Commons justice committee as it examines the government’s new prostitution bill.

The government’s five-year commitment amounts to $125,000 a year in Calgary, which is not enough, Hanson said.

He called for a national strategy in which Ottawa, the provinces, municipalities and social agencies would work towards abolishing prostitution.

“We have to look at the exit strategy,” Hanson said.

On Monday, Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the government hopes to see the new bill — which targets demand for sexual services by criminalizing pimps and johns — foster an end to prostitution entirely.

Though not part of the actual bill, the $20-million commitment is an additional government commitment to help women get out of the sex industry.

Hanson said after his testimony that he hasn’t approached the Harper government directly about increasing their funding and that includes his city’s best-known MP, the prime minister himself.

But he said the underlying causes of prostitution — from child abuse, drug addiction and domestic violence — need to be addressed, and the agencies that deal with these problems need more help.

“I don’t think the prime minister lays awake at night wondering what Rick Hanson has to think about anything, chief of Calgary, or otherwise,” he said in an interview.

“I can tell you that $20 million, when you actually spread it across five years, and you spread it across the country, it’s a start, but that’s all it is — it’s a start.”

Manitoba Attorney General Andrew Swan testified Monday that he’d like to see a larger federal spending commitment, since his province already spends $8 million a year on the problem.

The funds fit the so-called Nordic model of several Scandinavian countries, which the Harper government’s legislation appears designed to imitate.

In addition to making it illegal to be a client or a pimp, the approach calls for social spending to help exploited women in the sex industry.

NDP justice critic Francoise Boivin said the government needs to spend more in that area.

“The Conservatives will spend more on the commercial” to advertise the bill than they will on helping prostitutes, she predicted.

“He (MacKay) wants to eradicate prostitution. But with $20 million I tend to take him not too seriously.”

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the existing prostitution law last December and gave the government one year to respond with new legislation.

Just Posted

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

WATCH: Setters Place grand opening in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Setters Place officially opened to the public Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month