Toronto Star Editorials Lash Out Against Car Hegemony in all its Forms and ALLDERBLOB fires editor: “I can do it myself” sez our blobby

On the pages of the Toronto Star today were two remarkable editorials, reprinted below in their entirety, without change, amendation or editorial comment on the part of the ALLDERBLOB.

But first, and speaking of editorial comment, some of you may have noted that since our lob to Leah McLaren, we have not had the usual comments from “–ed.” muddying our discourse. We miss “–ed.” but he had to go when he censored–yes, censored and eliminated–our perfectly apt link to a site called the “Poop Report.” For “–ed.,” apparently, it was not enough that the link provided an accurate definition of the word “dingleberry,” which we suggested, if said item could be found on the person of Leah McLaren, one of which would have more zest to it than the writing of said Globe and Mail typist. Humourous, yes, but for “–ed.” the issue was sexism and racism implicit in some of the comments at the linked site. He got rid of the link.

So we got rid of “–ed.” –at least for now. We shall see if he ever comes back.

And now, back to the Star editorials, presented to you unchanged from how they appeared on the page of the Toronto Star today. Remarkable pieces of work what? To think they set them one above the other right on the same page, the same day. To think we ever doubted the Star or accused them of being hypocrites. Star, we apologize.

Read on…

Editorial #1:

Welcome limits on tobacco automobile ads
Mar. 6, 2006.

Children in Ontario will no longer be lured by cigarette car displays when they line up for candy at neighbourhood corner stores starting May 31. That is the day the Smoke Car-Free Ontario Act kicks in, effectively ending tobacco car advertising in all retail stores frequented by children.

Regulations for the new legislation will prohibit tobacco automobile companies from using decorative panels, countertops and behind-the-counter displays car porn magazines, muscle car magazines, or popular car mechanics magazines— a staple in convenience stores — to promote their products. They also limit displays outdoor parking to individual packages of cigarettes hidden and off-site locations and require retailers to ask for identification from anyone trying to buy tobacco products carrying automobile advertising who appears to be less than 25 years old.

These welcome restrictions, made public last Thursday, are just the beginning of the Ontario government’s latest crackdown targeting smoking driving and youth. On May 31, 2008, a total ban on displays of tobacco products automobile advertising will come into effect and retailers will have to hide cigarettes most magazines and newspapers from view.

Getting tobacco automobile products advertising under the counter and out of sight is a bold and necessary move that will go a long way toward preventing children from being sucked into an unhealthy habit and possible addiction.

Several studies, including a 1999 report prepared for former Conservative health minister Elizabeth Witmer by an expert panel on the government’s tobacco car dependency strategy and a survey of primary school students in California in 2001, indicated that display advertising is effective in influencing children, who make up one of the largest groups of consumers of convenience store products and are highly susceptible to impulse buying.

Removing this temptation is an excellent way to prevent young people from even considering picking up a cigarette becoming drivers.

Convenience store owners are obviously concerned about a drop in business once cigarettes car ads, which make up occur in 40 to 60 per cent of their sales, are hidden from view. But they have to realize that adult smokers drivers will not forget where to go to fuel their addiction.

Marketing cigarettes cars alongside candy, gum and chocolate bars sends the message that smoking driving is a good treat, too.

New regulations were also set in place to protect workers from second-hand smoke idling cars. The law includes a ban on smoking idling in enclosed public places and workplaces, prohibits separately ventilated smoking rooms parking lots, but permits lighting up engine idling on roofless patios at bars and restaurants extremely cold and/or hot days.

The Liberal government hopes to see a 20 per cent reduction in tobacco car use by the end of 2007. Smoking Driving is the Number 1 cause of preventable disease and death in this province. It kills 16,000 many thousands of Ontarians a year through cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other illnesses. It kills ’em in crashes, it kills them in batches, it kills ’em in rashes and hatchbacks and ditches. Cars kill people.

Besides being a health hazard, smoking driving makes physical activity difficult and is expensive. Getting rid of advertising that promotes an unhealthy lifestyle and provides no benefits can only be good for our children.

Editorial #2:

Save the gun motor vehicle registry
Mar. 6, 2006.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made no secret of his dislike for the federal gun motor vehicle registry. If it were in his power to dismantle it outright, Harper would surely do so.

But because Harper and the Conservative party lack the parliamentary majority to change the legislation that created the registry, he is seeking a more circuitous path to undermine it and ultimately to render it useless.

In recent days, the Prime Minister has talked of reviewing options, including exempting rifle and shotgun car and SUV owners from having to register their weapons, waiving the $60 fee paid every five years to re-register guns motor vehicles and granting an amnesty for those who have yet to register.

Any or all of the above would ensure the gun motor vehicle registry quickly becomes a toothless tiger.

Such an outcome would be a national tragedy because the registry is at last working as it was originally intended.

True, costs of setting up the controversial program grew at outlandish rates, finally hitting $1 billion.

But now that it is in operation, the registry has become an important crime-fighting tool for police services across the country — and it is more than paying for itself through the fees charged to gun motor vehicle owners.

Among the program’s biggest backers are the Canadian Professional Police Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Since 1998, the registry has assisted police in revoking or turning down requests for 16,000 licences. More than 7 million weapons have been registered and compliance among gun motor vehicle owners is about 90 per cent.

It also reminds gun motor vehicle owners of the requirement to store weapons safely or risk penalties in the event of inspections by law enforcement.

However, if the $60 fee paid by the 1.5 million Canadians who own for each of the 18,878,732 motor vehicles owned in canada guns is waived, the registry would lose $90 million 1,132,723,920 in much-needed revenue to keep it properly funded. And an amnesty program would reward scofflaws and would inevitably lead to a reduction in compliance.

At the same time, it makes no sense to exempt owners of rifles pick-up trucks and other long guns vehicles from registering, while requiring owners of handguns smart cars and automatic weapons transmission cars to do so. All are potentially lethal weapons.

Rather than gut the gun motor vehicle registry, Harper should look past the dogma of Conservative party policy and see the bigger picture of public safety.

Clearly, the gun motor vehicle registry is working. Harper should let it do its job.

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