Barley Mowat 

My Rio-Related Rant

without comments

I won’t spend much time recapping this one, as most other news sources/bloggers/street callers have covered pretty much every aspect of this story. However, I will say a few things from a Chuck-POV and see what conversation that starts. So, please consider this:

The law in question prevents theatres from serving liquor. This particular law is from BC’s “Booze is a dirty drug to be consumed in shame” post probation hangover. It accompanied other fun laws like not allowing music or food in beer halls, requiring patrons to be seated at all times, and having separate entrances for men and “escorted ladies.” Basically, the idea was that if we made drinking booze even the slightest bit fun, all hell would break loose and society would collapse imminently.

What sort of voting public would accept such terrible limitations on their boozing? Well, a voting public whose only other recent option was no booze at all. So yeah, I guess I’d go for the “take your medicine, rummy” approach as well in that case. The issue at hand is from the same era, but is more of the “won’t someone please think of the children” point of view. The logic is this (and I am not shitting you):

1/ Children go to movies
2/ Movie theatres are dark
3/ Children do naughty things in the dark
4/ Having booze in movie theatres means that children will be drunk!

Yup, that’s the logic. Selling booze at the movies equals drunk children, and you can’t possibly be in favour of drunk children, can you? Well, whatever, it was a weird time. People were kinda kooky back then in the, uh, 1600s, I guess? History’s not my strong suit.

Many of these weird laws have been removed or modified, but lots have not. When you have an old bat shiat crazy law on the books that is not enforced, politicians (quite rightly) decide to better focus their times and efforts on issues that actually affect people. And that’s how we wind up with the cat’s breakfast known as the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act. Try reading it some time; it’s fucked up. Lawyers who study it have no idea what it means.

To make things slightly better, the BC LCB helpfully issues a policy guide, which is written in plain(er) english, and tells business owners how to go about conducting their affairs. The policy guide has virtually no relation to the laws, but it’s the best we can do. Essentially, the law is so messed up even the governing body has decided to ignore it in favour of something less insane.

And that’s what gets me. During this whole Rio v LCB thing, the LCB *LOOKED AT THIS ARCANE LAW*. During that review, someone there read that bit of tripe up there and thought “Yeah that makes sense. I mean, I LIKE children” and decided to reply with “This is a law we’ll enforce” vs the more common “Yes that is technically illegal and I cannot advise you to do something illegal, but let’s just say a complaint won’t exactly wind up on the top of the Investigate and Enforce pile.” Even when the Rio offered to not sell booze when showing movies, which is a reasonable half-way point to a stupid law. But still, “CHILDREN!”

That’s the fucked up part, and that’s the part that let’s us know how hard legal change will be in this province. It’s not that we have a bird’s nest of legal issues, and non-sensical code (although we do definitely have that), but it’s that the people in charge of the whole mess honestly, truly, think they’re doing the right thing by banning movies in bars amongst other things. Change is easier when the other side also realizes they’re being a bit daft, but it’s very hard when they actually believe in their heart of hearts that you want to take children into a dark room and get them drunk.

Zealots are hard to beat, my friends.

Written by chuck

January 23rd, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Posted in Beer and You

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