As our campaign to have the last call for alcohol in Toronto extended to 4:00AM has gained prominence and traction, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Most people, it seems, agree that adults should be treated by their government as adults, and not be “legislated into a state adolescence” – to borrow a phrase from British journalist Noel Monk (1).
One group that has not joined the growing chorus of support however is MADD Canada. Its CEO, Andrew Murie, noted that, “Part of being a first-class city is keeping the city safe. We want a safe city, not a party city … Let’s get real. Real people get killed. Real people get injured. There’s an ugly side to the party side. It’s really unfair to promote it in such a narrow vein.”
“There is just not a simple public health, safety aspect of [extending last call] that makes any sense what so ever.”
And he might be right. We are not framing our campaign as one of public health or safety, but rather of personal responsibility and liberty. There are public safety arguments for restricting all manner of freedom, but that is not reason enough to do so.
So, let’s get real, Andrew Murie. Chicago and New York City both have 4:00AM last calls. Miami and Anchorage set theirs at 5:00AM. London, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong have no last call at all. And in all of these places, life goes on – quite well, actually.
Indeed, life goes on without degenerating into chaos those few weekends in Toronto where we allow for an extended last call.
What MADD Canada and Andrew Murie’s paternalistic fear-mongering should remind us of, is not that worst case scenarios are sufficient as arguments against greater freedom, but that we should place the opinions of our detractors in their proper context.
There is or should be a high threshold of argument required when calling for limits on activities adults are allowed to engage in. Conjuring unsubstantiated images of a dystopian danger-zone overrun by out-of-control partygoers does not meet that threshold.
All of this however, is mostly beside the point. We have laws on the books against impaired driving – MADD Canada’s primary concern. These are enforced vigorously by our world-class police force and would continue to be, regardless of whether or not last call were extended.
(1) Thanks, Jesse Kline!
Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram[email protected]_TO and like our Facebook Page. If you haven’t already, go to lastcallto.com and sign the petition and donate to our campaign. Thanks again for your support.
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