PUBCO Bulletin #10
The Official Newsletter of the Pub and Bar Coalition of Ontario
Suite 304, 1500 Bank Street
Ottawa, On. K1H 1B8



An Irregular Publication of the Pub and Bar Coalition of Canada

Policy re. Legal Support.
As we informed owners in the spring, PUBCO has had to develop a very specific policy concerning what we can and cannot support in the way of legal fees on behalf of our members. Over the last six months we have defended numerous tickets issued by the city and, apart from a few remaining specific issues on the private club issue, we have exhausted all of the legal avenues. We advised members several months ago that it would be difficult to continue to defend establishments that were still condoning smoking, and this has proven to be the case. PUBCO has managed to negotiate settlements with the city for the vast majority of tickets (well over 200) that have been issued, and we see little to be gained by continually going to court and incurring mounting legal costs to defend cases that will likely be unsuccessful.

Thus, commencing, August 15, it will not be possible for PUBCO to supply legal counsel to defend tickets issued for "permitting smoking" or "provision of ashtrays" or the like, issued after such date. PUBCO will, however, continue to provide advice at no cost as to how such tickets should best be handled in the event that members might still wish to pursue the issue.

PUBCO Supports Morris Manning challenge of York's by-law
On behalf of The Crow's Nest, renowned constitutional expert Morris Manning Q.C. has launched a challenge to the Regional Municipality of York's smoking by-law on the basis that it violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Constitution Act of 1982. PUBCO representatives met with Mr. Manning and a group of Toronto area bar owners to discuss the legal mechanics of his challenge. Not being constitutional experts we could not comment on the soundness of the case. But, Mr. Manning is well-versed in constitutional law, and his experience and knowledge give us the confidence to believe that his arguments could prove successful. For the sake of our members and their clientele we sincerely hope this will be the case.

PUBCO still has Ottawa legal costs to settle and is thus unable to provide direct funding at this stage. The Manning challenge has been initiated locally by Toronto area members, but PUBCO is actively recruiting province wide and part of this initiative includes the establishment of a separate legal fund. Depending upon the success of the strategy we hope to eventually to be able to assist the Manning challenge.

PUBCO is fully supportive of any measures that can bring about an end to these obnoxious smoking bans; bans that serve only to promote the social engineering campaign of very well-funded and well-organized special interest groups.
We would far rather negotiate a compromise solution than spend valuable resources in the courts. However, as long as municipalities stubbornly refuse to see the serious damage they are causing to our industry, then the legal route would appear to offer the only alternative.

Ottawa Survey continues to evade the question
Decima Research recently released a follow-up to a poll taken last February measuring the attitudes of Ottawans to the smoking ban. Once again, the irrelevant question asked was whether or not Ottawans supported the ban in "all public places". The survey was curiously adamant that designated smoking areas were not permitted. No options were given. Even though the survey claimed that support was growing stronger for the ban, it showed that 17% of people said they were going out more since the ban, and, more importantly, that a full 27% of the population were going out less! That's a huge number which supports our view that night life, including the bar scene, is dying in the place that Allan Fotheringham once described as "The City That Fun Forgot".

PUBCO hopes to sponsor a proper survey asking the real question: "Would you support separately ventilated smoking areas in bars, taverns, nightclubs, pool halls, bingos and pubs?" We suspect the answer will be the same as the results, which the City of Ottawa shamefully tried to hide, obtained by its November 2000 survey, which clearly showed that over 70% of Ottawans support a compromise solution.

Waterloo Bar Owners Risk Huge Fines for the Good Fight!
Two years after Waterloo's 100% ban became law, 29 bar owners are keeping up the fight. While many of their colleagues went under, these owners are now being threatened with jail sentences for continuing to defy the ban that threatens there livelihoods and is severely damaging the region's night life. The outrageous threats closely parallel the heavy-handed tactics being used in Ottawa where similar jail terms and threats of $25,000.00 are being used to destroy any bar owners who are desperately trying to survive the effects of the ban.

PUBCO applauds the Waterloo owners who, like everyone else in our business, are convinced that the law is a bad law and who understand the economic impact despite what the petty politicians may claim. How can anyone really believe that things return to normal "after a while" when you have these normally law-abiding owners still carrying on the battle two years after the by-law was introduced?

Finally, a Permanent PUBCO Office!
As much as Barry McKay, PUBCO GM, has enjoyed working from his kitchen table with papers and files piled on every available horizontal surface, PUBCO figured, with a growing membership that it was time to open official premises. We've now obtained suitable premises and plan to move in on August 1st.

PUBCO staff nearly doubles!
To help PUBCO further develop its province-wide ties, PUBCO is pleased to welcome Randy Hughes to our ranks, joining Barry McKay in our fight against unnecessary government regulation. For more than 9 years, Randy owned and operated the Tanglewood Pub, a successful East Ottawa neighbourhood fixture until the smoking ban forced it out of business. We sadly regret the impact on Randy's business but welcome him as his knowledge of the bar business, his connections and his enthusiasm will be valuable to PUBCO as we continue to build our case against stupid laws.

Membership Growing
PUBCO is in the midst of a vigorous membership drive throughput the province and we now have members in many areas of the province including Toronto, Kingston, Belleville, North York, Smiths Falls, Orillia, Collingwood and Cornwall. Owners are recognizing that they need an organization to speak up on their behalf - something that has been sadly missing in Ontario - especially for small licensees. PUBCO congratulates them for standing up for both themselves and their customers.

However, let it be clear that PUBCO does not intend to be a one issue organization. There are many other issues facing our industry that need addressing. As we continue to expand, we plan to allocate resources to address these other issues. If you have a particular issue that concerns you and your business please let us know.

Be In Touch
Information and solidarity are crucial to our fight against 100% smoking bans. Contact us for your views and news in your area for upcoming editions of PUBCO-OPERATION.
Call 1-866-314-2179, email and visit our website:
You can also write us at PUBCO, Suite 304,1500 Bank, Ottawa, ON K1H 1B8