January 22, 2009

The Agenda continued...

Interesting discussion last night on Steve Paikin's show (it should be posted here later today). The provincial government put into effect yesterday a ban on smoking in cars where children are present. While all well and good, I'm sick of bans. I'm sick of people talking about bans, I'm sick of people threatening bans, I'm sick of bans being used as a way to moderate behaviour of people who have free will, and are, or should be, capable of making their own decisions, good or bad.

So - how do you argue against something as noble as not smoking around kids? Not easily. But where does it end? In the past few weeks, the word 'ban' has been associated in the press with the following items: a book (The Handmaid's Tale), plastic bags, plastic water bottles, strikes, smoking near playgrounds, fighting in hockey games, saturated fats, iPods in cars, and corporate contributions. I'm sure I've missed as many as I've remembered.

You don't govern by banning. That's not the government's role, frankly, regardless of how right-minded it may seem. And to notoriously flip flop on most issues a few times first means little power ends up behind those 'successful' bans anyway.

A rep from McGuinty's office was on the panel, arguing that 80% of non-smokers and 69% of smokers support the ban. Well, yeah, because they're already no doubt complying anyway. You are never, ever going to affect those who refuse to acknowledge what they are doing is endangering their children, unless you can teach them. And be real: we all know threats to people who don't give a damn doesn't result in them finally caring.

What would work? A friend of mine with an ad agency in Michigan attacked this very problem in 2005. With a limited budget and needing a hard hitting public service campaign, Brogan & Partners did some research: the number one reason people stated for needing to change their smoking habits or quit completely? Their children. You can't threaten, bully or fine someone into making significant changes based on addictions.

The resulting ads (both radio and TV spots) were terrific. So terrific, they're still running in Michigan, New York bought them, and several other states are also using them. Awards followed, most notably a Mobius, which is like an Oscar in the ad world.

Listen to this radio spot here.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorraine: I watched the show. Good comments. This is a socialist approach to government in a democractic society. Not good. No one should smoke period especially around kids but also Big Brother should keep their nose out of it. Stop selling the damn things and let's be done with it. Can't, the taxes involved. Hypocrisy running wild. As I said in another blog, Dalton would be better dealing with some real issues, Caledonia, York University strike, and Lord knows the economic struggle this province is in rather then dabbling in nonsense such as bans. He does it because it makes people think he is really accomplishing something, they are relatively done at no cost, smoke and mirrors, when in reality he isn't doing damn thing to improve our real struggles or problems of this province. If he cannot handle the pressues of the everyday duties of running this province, then get to hell out of the kitchen. He has done nothing in this province except play with bans. Kids can do that. He is in hiding with the Caledonia issue and the York strike. Appointing another mediator, HELLO!!!. This is number three going at it. McGuinty is a disgrace. Take his socialist agenda, bans, whatever else, and hit the road...


January 22, 2009 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dalton never once took the hard way with any issue he had in government. I love the way he's "handling" the York U strike.
He's going to cracks some knuckles together...oh sorry skulls, heads, whatever. Four more years with this bozo in power, I can't wait.

January 22, 2009 5:37 PM  

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