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Big Brother may have idle time on hand

Ooooh! What a hotbed of significant debate our city hall has been this week.

Ooooh! What a hotbed of significant debate our city hall has been this week.

Our dedicated and brilliant councillors, faced with an uncertain economic future, unrealistic tax increases, rampant homelessness, gang violence, a demoralized police force, crumbling infrastructure, and an increase in their salaries that is in no way tied to their performance, have chosen instead to grapple with a much more serious issue facing our fair city — idling cars.

I had no idea the idling problem was so serious and I was blissfully unaware that for countless thousands of Edmontonians this is the No. 1 top-of-mind civic issue. Apparently, huge numbers of humans and animals have gone to meet their maker because of cars idling for more than three minutes when it is warmer than –10 C. Apparently, all those idling cars are keeping people from moving here. Apparently, businesses do not want to locate in a city that does not have an anti-idling bylaw. Apparently, idling cars are making it impossible for the civic administration to keep control of costs. No wonder city council has spent so much time debating this issue.

What really surprised me, however, was the realization that members of our city council are familiar with at least one great work of English literature. Obviously, councillors have read George Orwell’s 1984 and have learned some valuable lessons on how to run a city from doing so. I thought maybe they had, given their penchant for video surveillance. But the approach they want to take to the idling issue proves they are the literati I suspected them to be.

One of the more pleasant aspects of 1984 was the government encouraging citizens to fink on friends, neighbours and others who were engaging in thought crimes or anything else Big Brother deemed inappropriate behaviour. Fingering one’s neighbours for the double-plus-ungood act of idling is part and parcel of this pressing issue. Neither the police nor bylaw enforcement officers have the time or inclination to enforce such a bylaw. That leaves just you and me to get to know our neighbours better by turning them in.

I am sure doing so will create more cohesive and friendly communities. Hey, we all care deeply about the environment so I am sure whomever you and I choose to finger will see the environmental error of their ways and thank us for steering them back to the path of righteousness.

 
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