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OPP blowing smoke?


Published on Mar 06, 2009

The Sachem

The photo and article covering the smoking ban in vehicles carrying children (Sachem, Feb. 2/09) points up the incongruous dichotomy that exists in Caledonia vis-a-vis our Native friends, tobacco and the O. P. P.

On the one hand, we have the police enthusiastically endorsing the new law and committed to its enforcement, which, I suspect will be a can of worms. It will however, certainly be worth the effort.

The Caledonia situation, on the other hand, would appear to be a slam-dunk. Consider that the tobacco shack on Argyle Street was erected on Provincial land, without permission or inspection. It is an unlicensed outlet selling contraband products of unknown quality or origin.

And yet, get this, despite the ban on advertising tobacco products, the proprietors had the chutzpah to display a sign (now gone) extolling the virtues of certain cigarettes with a French name. Clearly they believe that they can operate carte blanche. To date, that belief is justified. What to do?

Since, for whatever reason, the O. P. P. cannot or will not proceed against what is a blatantly illegal operation, they might instead go after the customers. Their purchases, after all, are what make the business viable. Stopping and warning potential buyers of their liability when they knowingly aid and abet an illegal activity would be a start. Seizure of purchased goods and prosecution would be the logical consequences of ignoring the warning.

To implement the above it would be necessary to have an O. P. P. permanently stationed at the site entry. If such an action is to be considered, the citizens of Caledonia should be prepared for another session a drumbeating and cries of racism. Despite this possibility, it's worth a try.

I won't hold my breath.

Gordon S. Munro, Caledonia