Monday, May 14, 2012

Bag the mayor

Toronto's mayor, Rob Ford, is up to his old tricks.  He runs government like a business see, when he sees business owners charging money for things he leaps in to put a stop to that!  His current beef is the mandatory 5 cent charge for disposable plastic bags at stores.  Since the initiative was put in place to stop businesses always giving away bags and to convince people to use reuseable bags the number of bags used in Toronto has dropped from 557 million per year to 216 million per year.  Rob Ford feels however that the law has 'served its purpose' and needs to be removed.

I can't fathom it.  We have a law that dramatically changed the habits of the citizens of Toronto for the better both improving our impact on the environment and reducing the workload of city workers and he wants to trash it... because apparently it was a one shot deal?  Reduce usage for a few years and then go back to business as usual?  Plenty of times when politicians do something stupid I write it off under 'obviously got bribed' but is there really any chance that Ford got bribed to do this?  Why else would he want to end a program that is all benefit and costs nothing?  I can't imagine the bag factory is bribing the mayor of every city to end or resist these programs.

Sometimes the politicians in charge are purely self serving and greedy.  Those aren't great, but they are better than the completely crazy and random folks like Ford.  At least with a purely self interested person you can predict what they will do and try to manipulate them into not doing it but with a madman like Ford you never know what nutty thing he will do next nor what it might take to stop him.


  1. I bought a few reusable bags when the law came in (ok, I forgot to bring the first one I bought three times and ended up with four) and haven't used a plastic bag at the grocery store since. I don't see what's to be gained by getting rid of the law.

    Is it costing the city some stupid amount of money to enforce the law or something?

  2. Well, I can imagine factories bribing mayors all across the country. On the other side I live in Russia, so…

  3. @Ziggyny

    It isn't costing money to enforce - as I understand it they actually make money from the fines from noncompliance, particularly when you consider the smaller amount of trash the city has to pay to clean up.

    The trouble is that people forget these things over time if you don't continue to keep it in force and businesses will drift towards giving bags away for free if the legal hurdle isn't there. New people and new businesses come into the market all the time so in order to keep people from giving away bags and having them be a huge waste you need the law to stay in force forever, pretty much. Or at least until the standard for bags changes substantially.