Friday, December 16, 2005

When will they just butt out?

I think people are way too freaked out over all this anti-smoking stuff now, anyway (and, hey, two of my grandparents died of lung cancer, so don't get all preachy on me). It's going too far when the city, instead of dealing with its record-high homicide rate and other real problems, is going after stuff like this, where grown-ups are choosing to have a smoke and bar owners are just trying to accommodate their patrons when the weather gets below Zero Fahrenheit. IMO, of course.

'Butt buses' ignite Edmonton furor

City officials have been working feverishly to figure out a way to shut down the buses that have sprung up outside at least two bars since the city's strict smoking bylaw came into effect July 1. A decision could come as early as today.

"This city is becoming so . . . communist. You'd think we lived in freaking Toronto or something," Kevin Schotts, a 31-year-old T. B. Pub regular, complained as he took a drag on his cigarette. "This is redneck Alberta. We should be able to have a smoke wherever we want to."

Yeah, well, Kevin, they don't call it "Redmonton" for nothin'. (Though that is still by Alberta standards . . .)

The bus belongs to the bar's owner, Tony Burke. He said there is nothing the city can do because it is his private vehicle and is registered under his name -- not the bar's.

"I can let people smoke on it if I want," said Mr. Burke, who is a non-smoker. "The city doesn't have control over what people do in their own vehicles. I did my research."

. . . Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel has told reporters that bars should comply with the spirit of the law.

Sure, Mayor Mandel, maybe when you reimburse them with the "letter" of the money they've lost.

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