OHNO depart­ment may be a pro­vin­cial cash cow

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - OPINION - VIC­TOR SCHUKOV FUNNY SIDE UP

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?”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.