Friday, December 16, 2005

Take A Ride on the Butt Bus

The city of Edmonton, Alberta has a problem on its hands. The owner of a local bar has come up with an ingenious solution to the city’s new draconian anti-smoking laws. Simply going outside for a smoke isn’t an appealing option in the dead of winter in Edmonton, as anyone who’s been there can testify to. So the bar owner has parked a remodeled school bus outside his bar (now christened the “butt bus”) and smokers can just step inside to have a cigarette between their drinks. Because the bus is privately owned and registered in the name of the bar owner, the city’s bylaw that covers all public buildings does not apply (ignore for a moment the fact that the bar is not really a “public” building, but a privately owned establishment). City officials are now scrambling to come up with a way to shut down the bus. The standard “public health” argument seems dubious in this case, though. People entering the butt bus are clearly making the decision to go in knowing it is specifically designed for smoking, and the bus serves no other explicit purpose except as a venue for smoking (you can't bring a drink on it). Of course, if your real goal is to stop people from deciding how they use their own bodies, you’re failing – which is why this case nicely exposes the fact that the public health argument isn’t the true motivation for many of the anti-smoking nannies.

Some of the quotes from the patrons of the bar are fantastic:

“This city is becoming so . . . communist. You'd think we lived in freaking Toronto or something.”

“We are not going to go down without a fight. This is my home No. 2.”

“I'm not one to care about civil liberties and all that, but this is getting out of hand. What's next? Arresting people who are smoking in their own cars?”

Well I am one to care about civil liberties and all that, and I give a tip of the hat to Tony Burke, the owner of T.J.’s bar in Edmonton, for finding a way around an unjust law that was damaging his business. And bonus points for making city officials look like fools.

1 Comments:

At 3:02 AM, Blogger Christeen said...

I like the butt bus as a concept. Ok, more like I like the sound of the two words butt & bus said together. butt bus! all right!

Sorry.

I think the best relevent CBC television stand up comedian bit I can recall is the smoker who recited his counter-attack to the heightened anti-smoking laws with respect to public places!

".....Oh yeah, what if I decided to tell you what I thought about your poor health decisions. What if I was sitting next to you in a well populated restaurant and yelled over "HEY FATTY!! YOU'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE THAT ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU EATING THE DESSERT FOR? YOU SHOULDN'T EAT THAT. THERE"S 500000 GRAMS OF FAT IN THAT PIECE OF CHOCOLATE CAKE. YOU'RE GOING TO DIE OF HEART DISEASE AND YOUR ARTERIES ARE GOING TO EXPLODE. WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU DO THAT TO YOURSELF?? DON"T YOU WANT TO LIVE TO SEE YOUR GRANDKIDS??"

tee hee

 

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