Reviving measures from the Mel Lastman era probably isn’t a good idea on principle. But apparently at least one member of the Rob Ford camp thinks that when it comes to panhandling, that rule doesn’t hold. Anybody who lived in the city in the late 1990s surely remembers Lastman’s attempt to crack down on “aggressive panhandling,” back when Toronto’s biggest problem was squeegee kids (oh, the memories). Of course, those laws were 100 per cent effective and completely solved the panhandling problem for perpetuity. Er, right, that never happened. Instead, this week, Doug Holyday decided to revisit the panhandling issue, only this time swinging a much bigger hammer.
From the Toronto Sun:
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here … there are other jurisdictions that have strong panhandling laws in effect and that’s what we need here,” he said. “It’s time to move in that direction.”
He feels a panhandling bylaw should make it illegal to obstruct the sidewalk and include fines and possible jail time.
We look forward to the city’s latest effort to try to collect fines from homeless people. We can’t wait for the police reports: “Officers seized coinage with a street value of $16.85—Chief Blair says it’s Toronto’s biggest bust in months!” Jail time, we’re sure, will be equally effective. It’s not as if the province’s courts and prisons are already packed to bursting, after all. Sure, panhandlers are a nuisance. But giving the police new powers to fine or arrest them seems like a waste of time when the city has much bigger problems to address.
• Buddy can you spare a crime [Toronto Sun]
• Q&A: Doug Holyday on the city’s panhandlers [National Post]
• Anti-panhandling laws coming to Toronto? [680 News]