Sunday, July 29, 2007

Smitherman isn't helping

One of the more minor irritants of life in Toronto is the uniform nature of street vendor food which basically consists of various kinds of fried sausage. For a long time, Councillor John Filion has been pushing the idea of expanding this. All of a sudden Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman, in whose power it is to amend the necessary regulations (once again, the City of Toronto Act keeps us crawling to Queen's Park) decided to announce a relaxation at the Taste of Lawrence event but didn't invite the guy who had done the spadework to share the limelight. In a rare move by a pol, Filion turned the other cheek and welcomed the relaxation regardless - what's odd is that apparently Filion normally identifies as Liberal.

However, he appears to have been worried that the province are trying to relax the regulations before the City has hired the inspectors to police them and that the choice will merely expand as far as burgers as well as hot dogs. His moves to ensure an orderly and diverse expansion were noted in the Globe and Mail, along with the Minister's hissy-fit:
Smitherman waved off Mr. Filion's concerns as a tempest in a teapot, noting the regulations simply open the door to municipalities making their own rules after Aug. 1. Nor does he have much patience for what he calls Mr. Filion's "nanny state" objections to burgers being sold on the street.
This from the guy whose department is responsible for the original, highly nannyish regulations and who should at least notionally be interested in expanded food choices being healthy ones? No, he's just concerned that if the City doesn't move fast enough, new types of cholesterol carriers won't be available for voters on election day, October 10th, not least since the most concentration mass of vendors are in his downtown riding.
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