Ed Hand: Up in Smoke
It appears Osgoode ward councillor, George Darouze has been inhaling too much exhaust from his snowmobile. You know, George. He's the one time head of a snowmobile club who parlayed that into a seat on Ottawa city council in the last election.
While the residents of Osgoode ward wait for much needed road improvements, George has hopped on the stallion of "culture" to ride to the defence of hookah bars. These lounges allow customers to use their water pipes to smoke tobacco or herbal hookah. George tells Metro Ottawa he's against a ban because "we're picking on a cultural thing".
While it may be steeped in history, and social in some cultures, those whom claim it's innocence seem to forget that even the herbal hookah is heated with charcoal. It gives those same great traits as cigarettes, carbon monoxide, metal particles and other cancer causing agents. The Centres for Disease Control in the US along with Health Canada both come out on the other side of his argument. If it's a cultural thing as George claims, is he suggesting a place for sharia law because some of our laws might "infringe" on other cultures.
When the City of Ottawa introduced it's smoke free legislation, the howls of outrage rang across the city. Remember how it was going to kill Ottawa's restaurant and bar industry? Today, Ottawa's restaurant and bar scene has never been healthier. Something else George seems to forget. The law was also created to provide for a healthy workplace for employees. To tell you the truth, I don't know how hookah bars were allowed to open in Ottawa in the first place considering it creates second hand smoke for other guests and employees.
It's time for George to hop off the high horse of political correctness and do something meaningful for his constituents. Instead of pandering and grandstanding on an irrelevant issue, how about you get the roads fixed. Our vehicles will thank you.