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Regulations could be on the way for Regina’s ‘body rub’ parlours – Regina

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Regina’s executive committee wants city council to look into regulating a growing number of “body rub” parlours — the term the city uses for massage parlours known for selling sexual services.

While Wednesday’s vote only recommends that council conduct consultations on these businesses, additional questions of ethics, potential policies and sanitation quickly took over at the meeting.

“Some are thinking it should be completely illegal,” said Regina Mayor Michael Fougere. “Others say regulate it, others not so much. It’ll be difficult.”

The move for change was sparked by changes to the definition of prostitution in Canada’s criminal code. Bill C-36, or the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, came into effect in December of 2014.

“[The change] has moved prostitution off the street and in elsewhere. That’s a problem,” Fougere added.


READ MORE:
City of Regina working on massage parlour bylaw

Regina police believe there are roughly 21 “body rub” parlours selling sexual services across the city and want to see regulations on these businesses, and a change in how they’re described to distance registered massage therapists from the situation.

“The Criminal Code only goes so far in making communities safe,” Supt. Corey Zaharuk said. “We think this will better help us respond to those vulnerable workers inside and provide a safer community.”

Suggested approaches focus on two potential ways of regulating these businesses: First, an approach that would minimize the impact of the establishments on adjacent businesses and neighbourhoods and second, an approach that would focus on the safety of parlour workers and their clients.

In the first approach, “body rub” parlours would only be able to operate in industrial areas with a discretionary use permit- keeping them away from main roads but costing taxpayers more for zoning and enforcement.


READ MORE:
Toronto man operating massage parlour gets prison sentence for prostitution offences

The second approach would establish an adult services licensing bylaw that would require both the parlour and the practitioners to be licensed.

A clampdown on where the establishments could operate would result in a higher enforcement price tag that would be passed on to taxpayers, though it would improve the city’s knowledge of who is working and who is buying these services.

Councillor Sharron Bryce said she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of taxpayers subsidizing illegal activities.

Ed Smith, a local resident who says his daughter was lured into the sex trade and murdered less than a year after entering the industry, was one of seven people sharing their thoughts on the subject.

“I wish they were not in our city at all, but that might be a bit of a pipe dream,” Smith said. “I really believe if they’re going to be here, they need to be strongly regulated.”


READ MORE:
City, police investigate members-only strip club in Regina

He said he hopes to see high licensing fees, exit options for parlour employees and strict screening processes for workers and clients.

“It’s important for us to know who is working in the sex trade because many of them are vulnerable,” Zaharuk said. “We want to protect them as much as we can as well.”

Another woman, Jane, saw things differently.

“Do we see a way to minimize the impact of murder and theft in our community? No. We would try to eradicate as best we can, understanding we’ll never completely get rid of it. I think it’s our responsibility to do our best.”

On Dec. 17, council will decide whether or not to take the next step forward by consulting the public, police and workers themselves.

If approved, those talks will start in early 2019.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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Anglais

MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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Anglais

Birdhouse Wingerie & Bar is the Latest to Hatch in West Island’s Bubbling Restaurant Scene

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Wings are the thing at the latest restaurant to make its mark on Montreal’s West Island: Birdhouse Wingerie & Bar.

At the buzzy new Dollard-Des Ormeaux eatery, the bird limbs come aplenty, with a menu listing eleven “wet & messy” wings, including smoked apple habanero, sriracha lime, and cherry cola BBQ; and four — cacio e pepe, ketchups chip, Nashville hot, and the garlicky, lemon pepper “vampire slayer” — dry rub flavours. They come 10 for $18 or 20 for $34, plus the option of ranch, parmesan, or blue cheese dipping sauce.

Tacos, nachos, poutines (one made with bone marrow, another with tater tots), smashed burgers, salads, and a classic buttermilk fried chicken dinner are just sampling of the other dishes that round out the offering. On the drinks side, there are cocktails, sangrias, and spiked milkshakes in popular chocolate bar flavours: After Eight, Skor, Bounty, or Reeses.

Opened on July 5, Birdhouse is among a recent influx of restaurants to grace the island’s western end, including birria taco slinger Tacos Don Rigo and barbecue joint Smoke Box — a double whammy in the same Pierrefonds area strip mall. That comes in addition to plans for Fairview Pointe Claire’s incoming “District Gourmand” (slated to usher in Tommy Café), and, of course, a number of the area’s longer-standing stalwarts — from southern belle Bistro Nolah to old-school casse-croûte Smoked Meat Pete — that have helped bolster the West Island’s culinary credentials.

The brand-new Brunswick Boulevard restaurant is the brainchild of Montreal entrepreneur Lorne Schwartz, restaurateur George Massouras (of Madisons and Arahova Souvlaki), and among the other partners involved, Brahm Mauer, son of the founder of beloved buffalo hot wings expert Wings ‘n’ Things. Mauer has tried his hand at reviving the original Wings ‘n’ Things recipe — the restaurant originally opened in 1986 — over the years, including with a Royalmount Avenue location in 2012, then as a roaming summertime food truck and NDG pop-up. That same truck has now been made over with a Birdhouse-branded livery to be deployed for private events.

A likely draw to many, Birdhouse is reprising the “famous flavours, untouched” of the once-upon-a-time NDG staple, represented on its menu as “The Legendary WNT Buffalo” chicken wing.

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