Mayoral hopefuls divided on smoking ban in parks
While other cities might be moving to ban smoking in public parks and on beaches, there is no rush among the city's mayoral candidates to join in.
Publisher Sarah Thomson said Thursday that if she were elected mayor on Oct. 25, smoking would be banned in public parks.
"If Vancouver can do it, there's not reason Toronto can't do it," she told CTV Toronto. "And I think we need to clean them up."
Thomson is to be releasing the cost of her platform on Friday.
Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) would consider the move for heavily-used urban parks such as Trinity-Bellwoods and High Park.
"People are cheek to jowl, so if there's somebody smoking, somebody else will be inhaling," he said.
Toronto currently has a smoking ban around wading pools and children's play areas.
Coun. Rob Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North), the presumed frontrunner in the race, said he won't be moving to widen the scope of the bylaw if he becomes mayor.
"What, are we going to ban smoking across the city? Is it going to be illegal to smoke? It's a little farfetched if you ask me," he said.
Rocco Rossi, a former CEO of the Ontario Heart and Stroke Foundation, also wouldn't support such a move.
"To say that in open public spaces that you're not allowed to smoke is … not an appropriate step," he said.
As provincial health minister, George Smitherman brought in the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which banned smoking inside public buildings such as restaurants -- including outdoor patios.
"I'm not interested in hiring a bunch of people that are going to run around and write tickets," he said.
Vancouver's bylaw came into effect earlier this month. It applies to public parks, parking lots, public beaches and golf courses.
Ian Robertson, Vancouver's parks commissioner, said the bylaw is working.
"We haven't had to hand out any tickets … and there haven't been any negative consequences. So far, it's going very well," he said.
New York City is also considering the move.
After some prominent Progressive Conservatives allowed their names to be used on a letter to support Smitherman's candidacy, Rossi released a list of nine endorsers.
The list included:
- authors Peter C. Newman, Austin Clarke and Allan Fotheringham
- former RBC senior executives Anthony S. Fell and Charles Coffey
- Mary Aitken, founder of the Verity women's club
Thomson told the Toronto Star's editorial board that while having Ford as mayor would be scary, she won't drop out to help another candidate.
She said she couldn't support any of her other three main opponents as mayor.
Thomson did find herself ahead in the Pac-Man "poll."
The online game, set up by a marketing company, allows you to play a Pac-Man-style game called Mayor Munch. You start by picking your favourite mayoral candidate (you have to register and supply One Stop Media with your email address. It will be used for marketing purposes).
On Thursday morning, Thomson issued a humorous news release saying she was ahead, but by the evening, Ford had been picked by 27 per cent of players to 25 per cent for Thomson.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness