I remember sitting in an open-topped bug-eye Austin Healy Sprite on Granville Street, almost at Georgia, in a traffic jam where the constantly blaring horns echoed off buildings. It was November 28, 1964 and the BC Lions had just won their first Grey Cup in Toronto, beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 34-24.
Since we knew there would be a celebration in downtown should the Lions win, my buddy and I wanted to be part of the jubilation in the streets. And we were, and other than the thought about how funny it would be to pop the hubcaps off some of the cars surrounding us in the jam, that ‘thought’ was about as far as mayhem that we, or anyone else, got up to that night.
Besides, it was late November with the top down, and the most pressing thing once we cleared traffic was to find somewhere warm.
It never occurred to us, or to the thousands of others celebrating the win, that setting a car on fire would do the same thing.
But in those days people had respect for authority, for other people, for property, and for ‘being nice.’ It was something that was drilled into us by our parents.
Obviously today that isn’t the case … somewhere in the lexicon of parenthood, many have neglected to instill respect in their children as a paradigm of life, and thus we saw and were horrified by what happened last Wednesday night after Boston’s humiliation of the Canucks.
If there is a lesson to be learned from this, it is that parents must not only accept, but practise, that their role is to teach their children and not, thanks to their busy lives and striving to have more than the generation before them, leave it up to others. Or to ignore it completely in this age and attitude of tolerance and ‘kids will be kids’ – until they do something so terribly wrong, driven by the desire or peer pressure to do what everyone else is doing, including getting caught-up the euphoria of rioting, with no thoughts of consequence.
However, since the riot and its aftermath have been canvassed thoroughly in all the media, in public outrage and with a government promise of “we will get them and they will pay,” I will not further proselytize.
This sad and disgraceful event will, like the HST, have legs that will continue the discourse for weeks and months to come.
It will have, I hope, a profound effect on how we deal with future gatherings, how the justice system will cope with it, and how we as a society come to grips with a mentality that freedom is an applicable right no matter its consequences.
At least with the above-mentioned HST, we are about to embark on a democratic exercise to determine, once and for all, its fate.
As I wrote in this space last year, I do not have a problem with the HST, and in fact, despite what even the government says about it adding additional costs to us all, have not noticed any significant increase in what I spend. True, restaurant meals have gone up seven per cent, but unless you drop a huge amount on food and liquor the tab has only risen by cents or a few dollars.
Everything else I buy has always been taxed by the PST/GST. With the ameliorating fact of a two per cent reduction if the HST is retained, I am far better off with it than without it.
Thus, when the mail strike ends, and my ballot arrives it will be returned with an X in the “No” box because I believe that I, and everyone else, will be far better off keeping the HST than going back to the old PST system.
So give thanks to Bill Vander Zalm – his ravings have resulted in a two per cent reduction in the tax you will pay after 2014 – but don’t support his cries for killing the HST. It will cost you in the long run.