Volume 94, Issue 3

Friday, June 2, 2000


Beer ad not at head of the glass

Ride boards equal freedom

Ride boards equal freedom

To the Editor:

A recent column in the National Post reported a decision by the Ontario Highway Transport Board to fine a company called Allo Stop for operating a service which connects people offering inter-city transport and people wanting rides.

In reaching its decision to fine Allo Stop, the OHTB has set a precedent that could have far reaching implications across the province, if not across the country. That Premier Harris, or his Transport Minister, did not immediately close the OHTB, I feel, is an affront to the constitutional freedoms of association and speech.

During the heyday of South African apartheid, that nation's leaders had no comment about the behaviour of their regulatory bodies, or law enforcement agencies.

By allowing the ruling to stand, any ride board on a college or university campus could be ordered to be shut down. Newspapers could face fines for carrying classified ads from people offering or wanting rides. Internet service providers in Ontario that host a community page could also face fines if inter-city rides offered or wanted space on the local Internet classifieds. The Ontario Premier and his Transport Minister have no comment on the precedent the OHTB has set – one that could threaten the freedom of the media.

I believe, the OHTB, in rendering its disgraceful decision, has also revealed how freedom of the media in advertising inter-city rides being offered and wanted, ought to be preserved. Rides being offered and wanted will have to be posted on the Internet and hosted by an Web service provider located outside of Canada. This will compel the OHTB to respect the standards of international law.

The only alternative open to the OHTB wouldn't be for it to arbitrarily stop cars and vans carrying more than one person on Ontario's roads. The ensuing public outcry over such tactics may be more than Premier Harris and his cabinet could handle and the OHTB may have to be closed down.

Harry Valentine
Master of Economics 1981
University of Carelton
Cornwall, Ontario

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Copyright The Gazette 2000