The pretty little university town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, has become the first town in Canada to pass a bylaw making it illegal for people to smoke in vehicles in town if there’s anyone 18 or younger inside.
"I am very, very pleased. Once again I am happy that Wolfville has been able to be a leader on a matter that is one of wellness and the council, I think, has once again reflected the conscience of the community while dealing with an issue on behalf of an element of the population, that is, children, that don’t always or often have the right to change the environment in which they might find themselves."
Some people are pleased, anyway. They're the ones who see any with doubts as "naysayers", whose only concern is their infringement of their personal space and a restriction on their personal rights.
But to me, its not the same thing as laws around smoke-free workplaces and government bans against smoking in public buildings. We have had a lot of that in this province recently and those are actually okay with me. I don't smoke and although we never use to have any problem with friends smoking in our home, since having children that has become a different story. Step outside, please.
But its one thing to have rules in government buildings, even in 'public places', its another to take that very intrusive step into a person's private vehicle. If you can go into their vehicle, what's to stop you from going into their home?
I mean, really, if a municipal government by-law can reach that far ... then why not?
I have watched with interest as more and more custody decisions order the parents not to smoke when the child is in their care. Read with great discomfort a few authorities cited by judges which liken smoking to 'child abuse'. Hell, not too many are going to argue that smoking around kids (or anyone else for that matter) is 'good for them'. You don't have to convince me as to the dangers of second-hand smoke. Nobody smokes around my kids. And I seriously wonder about parents and caregivers who do smoke around kids.
But neither do I think that the government (at any level) should be able to intrude this far into people's personal lives ... or should I say 'personal spaces'. Unless the act of smoking itself is to be prohibitted under the criminal law, the furthest I can justify is awarding custody to a non-smoking parent if the other refuses to stop smoking in the presence of an asthmatic child. Beyond that ...
As an aside, this past April, Wolfville became the first fair trade town in the country, meaning it promotes and follows the practice of fair trade. The movement is all about giving a fair price to farmers or other producers for their goods, instead of the minimal return they get from large corporations. That, on the other hand, is something I'm proud of.
Cross-posted at The Flight Deck