To the People

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Smoking Restrictions: The New Way to Get Rid of People You Don't Like

Interesting article in the Kingston Whig-Standard, an Ontario paper, covering another disturbing case of a tenant attempting to have a smoker in a unit near her evicted. I blogged on an example of this from Australia a few weeks ago and was met mostly with, "I dunno, seems like a reasonable way to deal with the negative effects of smoking on non-smokers." Sure. Cause it has nothing to do with forcing your own likes, dislikes and morals on everyone else. Just property rights and health concerns.
A potentially precedent-setting case that could make smoking in rental housing grounds for eviction began in Kingston yesterday.

Montreal Street resident Sharna Sugarman appeared before the Landlord and Tenant Board – formerly the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal – to complain that smoke from the apartment directly underneath hers seeps into her unit and is making her and her six-year-old daughter sick.

[...]

In his opening remarks, Done made it clear that he will argue it is a landlord’s duty to ensure tenants are not exposed to such substances as cigarette smoke when they are not smokers themselves.

“Drifting second-hand smoke is hazardous to people’s health generally and to children’s health specifically,” he said.

“The only way to stop the danger from the smoke is to stop the smoke.”
I think -- as you will see below -- that this particular case, is much more of a personal vendetta against the landlords and the smoking tenant as opposed to a politically motivated suit. However, what the lawyer said is important, because that is the outcome that anti-smoking groups desire. They will only be happy when no one is smoking, whether it be in their homes, cars, or on the city sidewalk. More below.
The hearing also raised issues of personal credibility, as Toms put forward a tenant on the other side of the duplex who said she had smoked in Sugarman’s apartment and Sugarman raised no objection when she visited her own apartment and was exposed to smoke.

Sugarman denied the allegations under oath with the same vehemence with which they were made.

There is a short but bitter history between the two that includes calls to police and the Children’s Aid Society, plus a court-ordered peace bond between the two and a court date looming.
Go read the full article here.

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