Monday, March 19, 2012
Smokin' New Law
In a moment so rare that I've been unable to find out if it's ever happened in Alberta before today, an MLA other than a government member proposed a bill that actually passed third reading in Alberta Legislature. That piece of legislation, Bill 203, was brought to the floor of the assembly by none other than Official Opposition Leader Raj Sherman.
It's a great bill - well, a great law, now - that makes it illegal to smoke in a vehicle while there are minors present, punishable by a $1000 fine on the first offence. As an emergency room doctor, it's only natural that Dr. Sherman brought this bill forward to protect kids from the health hazards of second-hand smoke. Even the PC government found it impossible to vote against this bill!
It's important to note, however, that the government has hedged its bets a little, amending the bill so that it doesn't come into force on January 1, 2013, as Raj intended, but upon "proclamation," which means that the government retains final control over when the law takes effect - if ever, if one were feeling cynical. But I hope that the PCs will see that it doesn't benefit anyone to delay. The sooner smokers break the habit of smoking cars with kids, the better for all concerned.