No kidding around butt ban
by Susan Sherring
Hey stupid, butt out!
That's how Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder envisions her role in getting the message out that smoking in cars with kids is just plain wrong.
Yesterday, city councillors agreed to lend their moral support to provincial efforts looking at a law that would ban smoking in cars with kids.
While everyone on council agrees that the practice is wrong, there was some concern about how such a law -- provincial or otherwise -- would be enforced.
Harder suggested if she were ever stuck in traffic and saw someone smoking in a car containing kids, she'd just roll down her window and yell: "Hey stupid, butt out."
Only Orleans Coun. Bob Monette voted against the symbolic motion, saying he will always prefer education to legislation.
"Should (the police) spend their time driving around to see if people are smoking? Do they first check to see if there are any passengers in the vehicle smoking, driving around even more, and say, yes, they're smoking, yes, there are passengers, and then try to figure out how old these passengers are," Monette said, tongue-in-cheek.He said he'd far prefer to see an educational campaign, which has proved effective over the years.
"Let's not try to force people to do things we cannot enforce. I don't believe this is a proper thing to get involved with, let alone the province. I will be voting against it."
But Monette angered some of his fellow councillors when he suggested this council was known as a municipal body that has a "history of taking rights away from the people."
That didn't sit well with most councillors, including Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans.
"I am appalled at that statement. What we have a history of is working towards protecting our citizens and we're a model for many. Let's show some leadership by endorsing this. I would ask all of you to endorse this and in doing so, removing this risk to our children," she said.What is really quite remarkable is how quickly the public mood has changed on cigarettes. Remember the furor surrounding smoking in public places? Now, barely a ripple of dissent. It was only back in December that even Dr. David Salisbury was skeptical that banning smoking in cars was an idea whose time had come.
Now, only three months later, Ontario is heading toward the idea, Nova Scotia has passed the legislation and the British Columbia government promised a ban in its recent throne speech. On Tuesday, Premier Dalton McGuinty said he's taking a "second look" at adopting legislation he once called a slippery slope, adding he's being lobbied heavily by his minister of health promotion and a Liberal backbencher who last year introduced a private member's bill that would ban the practice. Although McGuinty had said in the past that such a ban would infringe too much on people's rights, he appears to have changed his mind to such a degree that he's willing to consider passing David Orazietti's bill when the Legislature resumes sitting in a couple of weeks.
Even Mayor Larry O'Brien supported the provincial ban, saying many believe smoking in cars with kids was not only disgusting but criminal.
"Smoking with a young child in a car is the moral equivalent of teaching your child to swim in a toilet bowl and it's just wrong," he said.
Perhaps it's quotes like this that have the mayor's political staff researching a blog for the mayor, so yes, he can think before writing.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Tempers were flaring yesterday at city council as the future of two buildings in Rockcliffe Park went up for debate. Procedural wrangling appeared to drag on forever with little getting accomplished. Councillors began getting frustrated, barking at each other and often ignoring what the other was saying.
"Nobody's listening to nobody," said Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Gord Hunter. "Well, I don't give a rat's butt, I'm going to take my five minutes."