The Ontario government has deputized 25,000* new smoking police in a bid to rid butts from cars. I’m not making this up. Check out the internal memo and attached documents (obtained by Cancrime, after the jump) that were sent this week to all police chiefs across the province by a senior government official.
The new rules came into effect today (Jan. 21) and bar anyone from smoking in a car if someone under the age of 16 is in the vehicle. Get busted, it’s a $125 ticket. Fight the ticket and lose in court, a $250 fine. Tobacco cops, (OK, they’re really called public health enforcement officers, who work for public health units) don’t get to hunt the nico-lawbreakers on wheels. The job falls only to police officers. The documents above include a 21-page question and answer that looks suspiciously like what government PR flacks call MRLs – media response lines. They’re confidential crib notes that allow communications types and politicians to offer pre-formatted, tidy answers to probing questions. The guts of the butt ban are in the Q&A;, including:
• Driving a convertible and smoking: still busted
• Parked and smoking: still busted
• Just holding a lit smoke: still busted
• Don’t call 911 to rat out a puffer, that’s “inappropriate”
You can bet plenty of police officers are sneering at the thought of having to enforce another bit of social engineering disguised as law. Don’t expect cartons of charges.
* there are about 25,000 officers across Ontario, according to the latest StatsCan survey