When you want to win the game, it helps to know the rules
The BC Court of Appeal invalidates ban on plastic bags. And I’m happy. No, wait. I don’t mean it like that.
I am absolutely in favour of banning plastic bags. But I’m also absolutely in favour of safekeeping the proper constitutional order. There are simple ways to do both. For some reason, Victoria chose to try something else. It failed. Now it has to start over, having wasted some rather precious time for — what, exactly? Not sure.
I’m also happy because for years when I was traveling along with the conservative movement not a day went by without someone bitching at those disconnected elitist activist judges making a mess of things by overriding the good people’s wishes expressed through their duly elected representatives. At the time people were mighty upset about gay marriage. Now it must be something else; I no longer spend time in conservative circles, not sure what ticks them off these days, but I’d bet you a big fat fiver they still don’t like judges.
Well. In this case judges (who, I’m going to presume, probably like the thought of banning plastic bags, especially if they happen to be left-leaning elitists in their private moments) basically said, We don’t care how popular this measure is, for it to be legally valid it has to be implemented in the properly constitutional manner. And not Pierre Trudeau’s constitution either. We’re talking BNAA here. The 1867 constitution. You know, the one conservatives like.
You’ll forgive my little happy dance.
The point of the ban on plastic bags in Victoria is to get rid of plastic bags because they are terrible for the environment.
That makes it an environmental measure.
Who’s responsible for this? In this country, provinces. (Well, actually, the feds also have some responsibilities, Environment is a shared jurisdiction thing, but in this case, for reasons we don’t need to get into, the proper authority is provincial.)
To ban plastic bags, Victoria should have asked the province for approval, Which I’m nearly certain it would have received easily. (And if not this would have been a perfect opportunity for activists and citizens to put pressure on their provincial government to do the right thing; yay democracy.) But somehow the city didn’t think it was necessary. The plastic industry, employing clever lawyers, probably saw the flaw in the city’s reasoning. And now the BC Court of Appeal unanimously agrees. Back to square one we go. Time wasted can be blamed on the city for not thinking clearly on this.
Still, though, it shouldn’t be too hard to get a ban back on, especially given growing awareness among sentient bipeds about the negative impacts of this much plastic everywhere. So while officials get up to speed on how we do things in Canada, regular folks and business owners are free to decide not to use plastic. There is nothing anywhere that forces merchants to give away (or sell) plastic bags, or for customers to use them.
Constitutionally-ordered freedom. It’s a beautiful thing.
p.s. use cloth bags.