Saskatoon’s mayor is speaking out against the nature of a recent charity fundraiser that included women in G-strings dancing on raised walkways.
“I think it’s out of step with the times,” said Charlie Clark on Wednesday.
“I have a daughter and I know it’s very important for me that she grow up in a society where she feels that she’s not an object, that she’s safe and recognized for who she is.”
‘Despicable’ then and now: councillor
On Friday, the Saskatoon branch of the Canadian Progress Club held its 36th annual Boys Lunch Out fundraiser at the city-owned TCU Place convention centre.
A CBC reporter saw about five minutes of the event, which included scantily-clad women on a walkway, male attendees watching on giant monitors and an MC making crude sexual jokes. Some of the event was captured on video.
The Progress Club said that a recent CBC News story had “grossly misrepresented” the fundraiser.
City councillor Cynthia Block was blunt in her criticism of the long-running event, saying she first became aware of it 22 years ago.
“I recall challenging the men in my circle of the day, most of whom vigorously defended the event, about how they would feel if it was their wife, daughter or sister on that stage,” she said.
“I had no idea that the event continued … but suffice to say it is as despicable to me today as it was 22 years ago.”
Should TCU Place have hosted?
Several other councillors and the mayor echoed Block in saying they have never attended Boys Lunch Out.
“I didn’t go this year,” said Clark. “I haven’t been in the past.”
Clark says the mayor doesn’t get involved in picking what events happen at TCU Place.
He said the Saskatoon Centennial Auditorium and Convention Centre Corporation, which runs the convention centre, decided the event was within its policy.
“If you want my personal opinion on it, I think that a lot of the questions that are being raised are important ones to raise at this time in society,” Clark said, citing the swirl of sexual misconduct allegations surrounding Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
“There’s a lot of issues around … the objectification of women and parts of our society where we see…