SMOKING LAWS 7
Ontario’s health promotion minister said Mychoice, is getting desperate. Jim Watson said worries by pub owners are overblown. “There has been a net increase in licensed establishments in Ottawa,” he said “Good entrepreneurs will rise to the challenge and will attract new customers they haven’t had before, such as people who don’t enjoy going in and having their lungs filled with smoke.” Perhaps they are getting desperate.
Windsor’s tourism trade certainly pales in comparison with that of Ottawa. Jack Goebel, vice- president of Lakefront Lines in Cleveland, Ohio, also feels the law to ban indoor smoking won’t be affecting the economy as much as some have predicted, citing Winnipeg as an example. Well, as if any more proof was needed. The guy probably runs two buses a year to Winnipeg so tourists can get in on either the deep snow or the black flies, but again it is a fine comparison to the tourism industry that cities like Windsor and Niagara Falls depend upon. “I’ve been running daily bus routes over to Windsor for the casino and the winery. It’s been a really successful destination for us,” said Goebel.
Maybe he didn’t get the news. Less than 240,000 tourists visited Windsor on bus tours in 2005, a figure that has steadily declined after reaching record numbers in 2001. I wonder what Goebel considers a success. His numbers are going down and he is too blind to see the writing on the wall. Sandra Bradt, tourism director at the Windsor-Essex Convention and Visitors Bureau said, “With the population aging, traditional motorcoach tours are starting to decrease in popularity.”
Desperate? Maybe. Saeid Targhi, owner of Club Metropolis in Hamilton, said his business and family’s livelihood is at stake. “I’m not ready to lose my investment over this,” said Targhi, who put in an $80,000 ventilation system in his designated smoking room which is soon to be outlawed. Edgar Mitchell, an Ottawa pub owner, told the news conference he suffered greatly when Ottawa introduced a smoke-free bylaw five years ago. “I lost $1 million in my 68-year-old family business, my sales dropped 50 per cent. Ask Watson what he lost,” said Mitchell.
Not according to Watson, but then he probably conducted his own survey that didn’t include bars, legions and bingo halls. Isn’t our government great? They really don’t care if you lose a million bucks.
Smitherman, the druggie, wants it his way and so he shall have it. Rick Beecroft worries about the next time bikers show up at his main street bar and light up a cigarette. Failure to enforce the law means he could be fined up to $5,000. “Why should I be fined? It’s not my law; it’s their law. It’s the province’s law, let them deal with it,” he says. Some regular patrons have told Beecroft they won’t be back once the smoking ban kicks in. He estimates at least half his customers smoke.
“It’s highly unfair. We’re supposed to have freedom of rights in this country, but smokers have no rights, period,” he said. He is absolutely right.