There's the rubRegina businessman Trevor Wowk has organized protests of COVID-19 restrictions and run for office on a platform of family values. He also quietly runs a massage parlour in his home that offers sex for sale.
By Geoff Leo
May 2, 2021
A Saskatchewan man who promoted "traditional" family values as a candidate for the People's Party of Canada and has been an outspoken critic of COVID-19 lockdown measures helps manage a massage parlour network that offers "sexual encounters," a CBC investigation has learned.
Trevor Wowk's business came to CBC's attention earlier this year through a tip from a contractor working on Wowk's Regina home, who said he helped install several massage rooms and a sauna.
When a CBC reporter did an undercover inquiry for services available at Wowk's business, he was offered sex by Wowk's wife, who works in a massage parlour located in his own home. His wife is a Chinese national currently seeking immigration through the family sponsorship program.
The 59-year-old businessman says the massage workers he works with are qualified to offer traditional Chinese medicine techniques, and he rejects the notion that prostitution is involved — though he admits he can't be certain.
"I'm not in the room. I don't have cameras in the rooms. I can neither prove if they do or if they don't," he told CBC in an interview. "What they do behind their closed doors of their massage clinic is up to them." Wowk said he does advise the massage parlour workers that having sex with clients "could risk their licence and registration."
In the 2019 federal election, Wowk ran in the riding of Regina Lewvan as an anti-abortion, pro-family values candidate for the People's Party of Canada. His candidacy was given a perfect score by the Campaign Life Coalition, a prominent anti-abortion organization.
In March 2020, Wowk formed his own political group, the Prairie Conservative Association (PCA). He told CBC the Freedom Alliance, a group fighting government COVID-19 measures, is a sub-committee of the PCA.
The Freedom Alliance made national news in January when it protested government masking and lockdown measures by demonstrating outside the home of Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe called the protesters "a group of idiots," but Wowk said the stunt was "wildly successful."
In Wowk's public campaigning, CBC was unable to find any mention of his role in the massage parlour network. He said that's by design.
"There's a stigma attached to these businesses in town and people don't like it. So I don't flaunt it," Wowk said. "I'm sure anybody half-sane would understand why I keep that pretty low-profile."
Despite that, he said his activities have earned him some unwelcome attention from police and health officials.
"Every few weeks they're showing up. They basically trespass. They come in and they try to intimidate me," Wowk said. "Whether it's because of my Freedom Alliance activities, my political activities, my massage business, I am targeted by the new-age Gestapo."
Regina has been moving to regulate "body rub establishments" and Wowk said the massage parlour in his home and the 11 others he helps manage are being targeted because city officials have wrongly deemed them to be "prostitution dens."
At the end of April, a new bylaw kicked in that could force these businesses to move to industrial parts of the city and comply with a host of new rules.
Wowk said the city's bylaw is based on misinformation and he has fought the new rules by making presentations to city council.
"They spent three years going through hearings and public hearings and creating a bylaw for a problem that doesn't exist in Regina," said Wowk. "There's no young girls being traded into sexual slavery. There's no blatant prostitution going on."
Wowk claims he provides management services to 80 massage parlours located in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. He said he's working with 12 in Regina alone.
He said he does their advertising, negotiates agreements, interacts with government officials and does any other work that requires English-language proficiency. Wowk notes that most of the clinics are owned or run by Mandarin speakers.
CBC has only been able to verify his connection to four massage parlours, all in Regina: two on Toronto St., one on Lorne St. and one on Victoria Ave., where he lives. Wowk refused to provide the names or locations of any other facilities he's connected to.
When asked how his massage business fit with his promotion of so-called Judeo-Christian values, Wowk had a ready answer.
"You name me one Bible passage that says there's any prohibition against massages. They don't exist,” he said. He pointed out that “there are multiple passages that talk about prostitutes helping Jesus and the disciples," but said that prostitution is neither forbidden in the Bible nor in Canadian law.
While it is legal to sell sex in Canada, it is illegal to buy or advertise sexual services. It’s also against the law to live on the material benefits derived from sex work.
‘Just an honest businessman'Wowk, who is originally from Manitoba, has led a life filled with drama.
CBC has learned the businessman filed for bankruptcy in 1990 and again in 2004. The second time, he declared he had debts of almost $500,000 and assets of $500.
Wowk gained notoriety in Manitoba in 2004 after pleading guilty to one count of evading provincial sales tax through his computer and telephone consulting business, TKW Communications. He was assessed an $80,000 fine, which the Winnipeg Sun reported was "the largest ever levied in Manitoba" at that time.
In a sworn affidavit filed in the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench in a contemporaneous lawsuit, one of Wowk's former employees, Daniel Jung, described a March 2003 meeting of TKW's management team.
Jung swore that in the meeting Wowk admitted he hadn't paid any provincial sales tax to the Manitoba government since the company was founded in 2000, and that because TKW "was registered as a home office at an employee's address with one employee, [Wowk said] an investigation into the unpaid tax liability would be unlikely."
"He also stated that he would destroy all documents long before any auditors came in," Jung said.
Wowk counters that that's a lie, insisting he's "just an honest businessman who got shafted by his business partners.""My integrity is unimpeachable and I have a distinct inability to lie."
While Wowk was campaigning as a candidate for the People's Party of Canada in the 2019 election, Regina radio station CJME asked him why people should vote for him. He replied, "my integrity is unimpeachable and I have a distinct inability to lie."
Wowk ran on a platform that included eliminating the carbon tax, restricting trade with China and other countries that don't share Canada's "traditional Western values" and reducing the number of immigrants that come in through the family reunification program.
He lost the campaign, receiving about one per cent of the vote.
In a letter dated Jan. 15, 2021, the PPC removed Wowk as a "member in good standing" after investigating a series of complaints about him and concluding he had "demonstrated a consistent pattern of poor judgement."
Wowk, who posted the letter on his Facebook page, says the party never specified what he was alleged to have done wrong.
After the 2019 federal election, he signed on as an organizer and candidate with the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan in January 2020, but that relationship quickly ended after a dispute over funding.
In March 2020, he formed his own political group, the Prairie Conservative Alliance (PCA), which supports federal, provincial and municipal candidates that sign on to the organization's statement of principles which are "founded on European Judeo-Christian beliefs that formed the cultural base for founding Canada." The PCA's Facebook page says those values include "freedom, respect, personal responsibility, and fairness."