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Re: Tories go nuts over the lemonade girls’ stand for freedom and liberty, July 6
Mr. Reevely takes issue with my opposition to the National Capital Commission’s decision to shut down the lemonade stand of two Ottawa girls, aged 5 and 7.
Unfortunately, he mischaracterizes my position and misses the point.
First, he writes “[a]lthough Poilievre rejoices that the NCC has backed down in the face of a public outcry, it hasn’t.” In fact, the NCC not only apologized, it waved all application and permit fees and has allowed the girls to set up shop this coming weekend. If that is not backing down, what is?
Second, he writes “[if Poilievre] thought the rule forbidding commercial free-for-alls on NCC land was a problem, he could have spoken up about it [when he was NCC minister].” I don’t think that rules “forbidding free-for-alls” are a problem. In fact, the problem in this instance was not the rules at all. It was the lack of common sense in their enforcement. Of course, the agency should prevent commercial vendors from setting up anywhere they choose without permission. Kids selling lemonade are not commercial vendors—that is why they don’t require city permits to sell on street corners.
As for my time as Minister: had I discovered that the NCC had shut down a children’s lemonade stand, I would have reversed their decision.
I take responsibility for NCC decisions that happened on my watch, but cannot answer for something it did last week, seven months after I left the post. Nor is it reasonable to suggest that I should not criticize the commission’s actions or decisions because I was once its minister. In fact, as an opposition MP and NCC critic, it is my job.
Finally, there is nothing wrong with using the incident to humanize the plight of all business-owners suffocating under stifling bureaucracy at all levels of government, a $37 billion-a-year problem, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Red tape costs some of Canada’s smallest companies six thousand dollars per worker.
They get little attention. I made a video to change that. Judging by the 60,000 views it received on Facebook, it worked. Expect more of it.