OHNO department may be a provincial cash cow
As you know, politicians are the worst qualified people in generating budget- balancing ( an oxymoron) income outside of taxes and selling you a permit for anything from staging a march to breathing air. Here’s a wonderful new source of income for bureaucrats: Extend permits for legal demonstrations to include blockades. This is how it works:
Under the Department of Transport, open a new wing called the Order of Highway Nuisance Obstructions ( OHNO.) Their motto could be, “No one blocks highways better than us.”
Here is a typical phone- in:
( Phone rings at OHNO and facilitator answers.)
“Welcome to OHNO. How can I help you?... You would like to block the 401 to protest the Celine Dion concert in Toronto... And how many people in your blockade?... Just you?... Not a problem. We don’t discriminate against numbers of protesters. There is a minimum charge, however, irrespective of how many block our vital arteries. What time would you like to cut off traffic on the 401 and where?... At rush hour onto the Don Valley... Both sides. How are you going to do that as just one person?... Oh, you want to just drop a big log in the middle of one exit... Good thinking. Just a suggestion. Rush hour is peak time. It would cost you half if you did it between 2 and 4 in the morning.... No? Okay you want it for 5 p. m. tomorrow. Let me check my calendar... I’m sorry. That date is booked by 1,200 angry taxi drivers... Yes, the 401 is a long highway but it won’t help your blockade much if people can’t get to it.... Alternate routes?... No, I’m sorry. All adjoining highways will be blocked by Canada Post employees fed up with the back to work legislation and a fellow named Frank who just wants to stop traffic for no reason. Is there anything else I can help you with?... You want to block the Gardiner Expressway... Okay, I’ll block that for you. Ha ha ha. Now I have a few questions for the application for permit:
“Will you be standing or lying down? There is an additional $ 300 insurance coverage for lying down in case a driver does not see you and runs you over... Standing... No problem. But please observe our “safety in accessing all highways to protest.” You must access from the side you are standing on... Why? In the event we have permitted a protest on a parallel road. Also, we are not responsible if you are attacked by one of those spider- like giant long grass cutting mowers.
“Will you be displaying a banner? May I suggest you bring a friend along if it is a long banner. Makes it easier to hold but entirely your business. And what will be on the banner?.... #%[email protected]&* Celine Dion?... Oh, I am afraid we can’t have swear words on any banners. Fortunately, Celine protests are quite popular so we have some used banners here you can have for a nominal fee. How about “God help us from Celine Dion” or “Celine Dion go home”?
“Do you want to be arrested?... No, I am not joking. It’s a publicity stunt. The media shows up. The police handcuff you and drag you off screaming. You get to be on the nightly news. The police are, of course, aware of your permit and drive you straight home. It’s a nice touch. The police van even has a couch and Tim Horton’s coffee and donuts for the ride. This costs extra, of course, because we have to contribute to the Policemen’s Fund plus our usual 200 per cent mark- up.
“So, That will be a total with the permit and administration fees and Timbits of $ 11,200 plus HST... Yes, that is expensive but that depends on whether or not you want to go to jail... No? Then may I offer you a weekend special? For $ 245 we can set you up on top of the CN Tower with a Spiderman outfit and you can take your chances.... Yes? Wonderful. Would you like to inquire about renting a safety net?”