Let's Introduce a Ban on Bans
(Queen's Park Report - June 30, 2008) Instead of addressing rising costs for working families, our economy, healthcare, crime or transportation, Premier McGuinty chose to go down another path in the first spring session of the Legislature since the election. I'm talking specifically about his propensity to bans things, because we have discussed bans almost incessantly in the Legislature. I will paraphrase my colleague Peter Shurman who made an excellent speech on this issue in the Legislature not long ago.
Mr. McGuinty began the session by proposing to ban the Lord’s Prayer from being read in the Legislature. Thankfully he backed down after intense pressure from the PC Caucus, yet he succeeded in creating a diversion from the almost daily news that another manufacturing plant was closing its doors in Ontario.
The Lord’s Prayer was just the tip of the iceberg. The government felt it was necessary to ban trans-fats. Now as an intelligent person, if I look at a package and see trans-fats, I don’t buy the product. Then again, Mr. McGuinty doesn’t think Ontarians are intelligent enough to make their own decisions.
Most will recall the pit bull ban. An entire breed of dog banned.
Then there was the ban on smoking in cars with kids present. As I said in the Legislature, if you do smoke with kids in the car then you must be something less than normal, and when you pass a bill like that – while we all agree, I voted for it; but, nobody has explained to me how it will be enforced.
We passed a bill on cosmetic pesticides, but no one bothers to call attention to the fact that after all the exemptions, what we passed is a bill that bans the use of cosmetic pesticides in residential areas, which accounts for less than 2% of the use of all pesticides, period. Thank goodness farmers are exempted, but it’s a slippery slope and I can’t say I trust Mr. McGuinty not to go down that road in the future. So far, technology has not allowed our farmers to do without pesticides.
Then there is the displaying of cigarettes in convenience stores. Did you know that 40% of all cigarette sales in this province emanate from smoke shacks on First Nations properties that are not policed at all?
What about the bill banning speeding in trucks? Isn't speeding illegal already? Where I come from, the 400 highways have a speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour, but we're going to limit trucks to 105.
Oh and there is now a ban on illegal firearms in vehicles. I have a question: If owning an illegal firearm is illegal, why do we need to ban them in vehicles?
Thankfully the ban on sushi didn’t last any longer than it took the government to realize that there was no science to prove the ban was necessary. As the president of the Ontario Restaurant Association said at the time, “Surely they’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
My personal favorite is the ban on banning clotheslines. Cities banned clotheslines because they weren't pretty, and then the Liberals banned their ability to ban clotheslines.
I have an idea: Let's introduce a ban on bans. How about a ban on walking into oncoming traffic or maybe a ban on being stupid?
These bans are not about good government and the wellbeing of Ontarians; they're about Public Relations. They are distractions to keep our minds off of the more than 200,000 manufacturing job losses, including more than 1,000 in Collingwood (a list of some of the plant closures and job losses can be found by clicking here ).
So what legislation has this government passed that is of any substance? The answer is nothing.