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Peter Worthington

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My Dog And I Pooh-Pooh Your Bag Ban

Posted: 06/12/2012 11:42 am

They always go too far.

There were a lot of people (like me) who were initially upset when stores began charging five cents for a plastic bag -- mostly because when shopping at Loblaws I'd forget to bring a cloth bag. Also, I found plastic bags enormously useful to have around -- not only for garbage at home, but also when walking the dog.

That's even greater concern now that City Council has gone nuts, and as well as dropping the five-cent charge come January 1, they want to make plastic bags illegal. Ban them outright. By a 27-17 vote. The dolts. Do they have any idea how this ban is going to affect, say, dog owners who depend of plastic bags to "pick up" after Fido does his business? What'll happen is that people will revert to doing nothing when the pooch poops. Let nature take care of it -- biodegradable and all that.

Again, I and innumerable others, often wonder what happens to the five cents charged by store for a plastic bag. Common sense tells you it vanishes into the store's coffers, not into financing good works. Oh, some of the plastic bag money may reach needy projects, but I'll bet mostly it's a windfall for the stores. Plastic bag bookkeeping probably costs more than the bag revenue.

At another level, how can plastic bags be banned? Who do those councilors think they are? Who'll police the ban? Surely not our cops. Why would they? It seems the councilor responsible for introducing the ban that's been pounced on by a mish-mash of council's lefties and think-alikes, was David Shiner, son of the late and oft-lamented Esther Shiner, an alderman who fought tenaciously for the city and what she felt was in its interests.

Before entering municipal politics, David Shiner ran a clothing store. Supposedly, under the plastic bag ban anyone buying shirts or undies will carry them out in their arms, or their own un-plastic bag, or a paper bag.
Mayor Rob Ford seems a bit shell-shocked that his proposal to end the five-cent fee, has escalated to ban the bags entirely. I haven't a clue how many jobs are at stake in the plastic bag industry (nor have the 27 councilors who voted for the ban), but anything that jeopardize honest jobs and a useful service is to be avoided.

This ban came out of the blue -- no consultants, no surveys, no thought about consequences. Just knee-jerkism.

Some councilors with a more realistic grasp on common sense -- like Norm Kelly -- predict the bag ban "will never see the light of day." Well, it's already the "light of day," and the ban is starting to wither. Or is it?

Maybe those whose living is linked with manufacturing plastic bags will sue the city. If they do, they might just win. There seems no way that courts will support a ban of plastic bags for no reason other than a bunch of councilors think it is "green" to do so.

The plastic bag fiasco stands as another example of those in charge trying to improve on an issue that succeeded (sort of), and going too far into an area they know little about, having done no research, and simply reacting mindlessly and collectively.

As a conservative, David Shiner should have pangs on his conscience.

 
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