As of January 1st it became illegal to puff away in local bars and restaurants. However this new Bylaw may be heading for some rough times. Local newspapers are reporting that a number of establishments are actively defying the ordinance.

Based on the information becoming available it appears that these bar owners may indeed have a leg to stand on.

Calgary City Council in their rush to enforce this bylaw may have created some legislation that will not be upheld in the courts. In their haste to ‘save the world’ the city council modified the enactment date from 2008 to 2007, however certain special interest groups managed to obtain some exemptions. The primary exceptions being Casinos and Bingo halls where you can still happily puff away while losing your money.

Needless to say bar owners who have VLT’s (that’s Canadian for one arm bandits) in their establishments, feel that they should be included under the casino exemption.

First hand reports that I have received show that at least one of the major downtown taverns has made no attempt to enforce the Bylaw, in fact they have ashtrays on all of the tables.

I am sure that the City of Calgary will eventually prevail, however there should be some very entertaining activities in the court room. I am not a judge, but it seems to me that the bar owners certainly have a valid argument.

The official line on the non-smoking law is that penalties will be mainly assessed based on complaints. Other reports are saying that there are so few ‘non-smoking’ enforcers the only way they are going to act is if someone reports an establishment. This is not a good way to achieve the results that the city wants. A law should be applied evenly, this approach will lead to vindictive activities.

Good times in the Wild West! 

Simon Barrett

http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com  

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