Home > News Room > TEA in the News > Bag ban a surprise twist at city council - Toronto Star

Bag ban a surprise twist at city council - Toronto Star

June 8, 2012
Sarah Barmak
Toronto Star

The Issue: Like a good airport mystery novel, this week’s Toronto city council meeting had a surprise twist no one saw coming. On Wednesday, Mayor Rob Ford attempted to end the five-cent fee on plastic shopping bags, which has cut use of the bags in half. He succeeded — but the move backfired in stunning fashion when councillors also voted to ban bags altogether. Toronto now joins Los Angeles, which became the largest city in the U.S. to ban plastic bags last month.

Ivor Tossell (@ivortossell), on Twitter: “The mayor opens debate to eliminate the 5-cent bag fee. Council instead bans all plastic bags. Ladies and gentlemen, the Fordian slip.”

Hamutal Dotan, Torontoist: “In short, observers who expected councillors to be both in favour of the fee (which provides one type of limit on bag use) and in favour of a ban (which precludes getting them entirely) were confounded, as they killed the fee but enacted the ban. The bottom line message was that if bags are problematic, we should ban them, not empower retailers to profit from their sale.”

Ford reacting to the decision on NewsTalk 1010 Thursday morning:
“It’s the people’s fault. Honestly, sometimes I get so frustrated because the people are just sitting back listening. They don’t pick up the phone, they don’t go down to City Hall, they don’t ask questions, they just — it’s frustrating. I want people to get engaged in municipal politics to find out who their councillor is and know how they vote. If there was a couple hundred thousand people down in Nathan Phillips Square saying they want plastic bags back, yes, then the councillors will listen. . . . I only have one vote on council. On issues like this, I think the mayor should have a little more power than one vote.”

Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale (@ddale8), on Twitter: “You know this already, but ‘it’s the people’s fault’ is not something populist politicians usually say.”

Marion Axmith, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association: “There will be no winners here. The residents of this city, the industry, no winners whatsoever. Jobs will be lost and investment in the city will be lost.”

Emily Alfred, the Toronto Environmental Alliance: “It sends a real signal that Toronto wants to be an environmental leader, and I think that’s the important thing.”

Matt Blair (@mjblair), on Twitter:
“To be fair to the mayor, this plastic bag ban does seem like a bit of a spontaneous, non-researched gamble. . . ”

May Cheng, a supermarket shopper reacting to the ban: “What are you going to do with slopping drippy slabs of meat in your shopping bag?”

Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt), on Twitter: “Rob Ford will now spend the rest of the night at a 24-hour Sobeys talking to shoppers about their plastic bags.”

Sting Sting Sting (@stingstingsting), on Twitter: “Ford ally and right-winger (councillor David) Shiner introduces plastic bag ban, which passes. So Ford calls him an ‘NDPer.’”

Carl Wilson (@carlzoilus), on Twitter: “Plastic bag ban: Toronto now officially a Portlandia sketch.”

John Michael McGrath, OpenFile: “It’s fair to call this an embarrassing reversal for the mayor; this issue wouldn’t even be before council without him.”

Marcus Gee, Globe and Mail:
“No matter how he tried to spin it, it was a major blow for the mayor. He started the day hoping to score a small victory after a series of council losses by ending the bag fee. He ended it with council sticking a finger in his eye by banning the bags altogether, something his predecessor David Miller never even tried despite all his green aspirations.”

As originally published here: http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/1208560--bag-ban-a-surprise-twist-at-city-council

2012-06-08 Ban ban a surprise twist at city council (Toronto Star).pdf125.13 KB