Friday, January 18, 2008

Date Rape Still Stalks Clubs Because of Red Tape

Well, I'm shocked. I had no idea. You hear a government announcement, watch the photo ops, think something good is happening, and then discover, simply by switching on the radio, that it was all BS. And women's lives are no more protected than they were last fall before Premier Dalton McGuinty announced to great fanfare that women will henceforth be able to carry their drinks into the bathroom at a pub or bar.

There was one tiny caveat: bar owners would have to apply for a special license to allow this.

Why? Well, I suppose bureaucrats do like their red tape. I can see the policy meeting now. One says, "But you can't have people carrying their drinks outside of the licensed area. It's not been done before."

"Yes, but, we gotta do something about these women being date raped."

"I haven't heard much about that. Just how big a problem is it anyway?"

"The owners tell us it happens regularly."

"Well, you can't be changing the license laws on the spur like that. They're there to protect people. We've had them forever. Besides what will we do with the lost revenue from women buying new drinks when they get back to the licensed area?"

"The government needs a good photo op. Protecting women is a win-win."

"I'm telling you, we can't wave a wand and let people carry their drinks into the bathroom. What will be next? Allow them to walk into a stairwell with it?"

"Um, yes."

"Yes?! What do you mean yes?!!!!"

"Some licensed premises require women to go into a stairwell to get to the bathroom."

"This is getting worse and worse the more you talk."

"The Premier is adament. He wants his photo op."

"OK.OK. But we can't give them more powers just like that."

"How about we compromise? The Premier gets his photo op, and we slip in that the owners have to apply for a special license. We won't charge them for it."

"Hmmm...sounds OK. But not charging..." He gets a stony stare in reply. He throws up his hands, "Alright, you win. But I want to see all the forms filled in and drawings submitted from these owners before granting them the right to take security off the bathrooms."

"You got it. I'll tell the Premier."

What a bunch of dorks government workers are sometimes. According to a club owner who called Bill Carroll on CFRB this morning (what was a club owner doing up so early...or had he not gone to sleep yet?), one must submit drawings of the club to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario in order to have the premises licensed. The special license requires those exact same drawings in order to receive it. In other words, the special license is just pure petty duplicated red tape. Without the license, a multi-level club must require security at all exit points of the licensed area, that includes entrances to the bathrooms and at the entry points of stairwells. How bizarre. I always thought the entire interior of a club or bar was licensed. Who came up with the arcane idea that certain areas inside the great indoors of a bar could not be licensed?

Apparently less than one percent of club owners have applied for this special license. Qu'elle surprise! According to another caller, many of those negligent owners just removed the security and now allow women to take their drinks into the bathroom, while ignoring the stupid paperwork. I wonder how they get around the inspectors who regularly patrol licensed premises? Or do the inspectors also turn a blind eye to this stupidity, figuring women's safety is more important than some dumbass bureaucrat's paperwork?

How bad is it? One club has three reportable incidences a month where they call in the police because a woman doesn't feel good after returning to her drink (from the dance floor or bathroom). Another said club policy was to take note of who walks in with whom (talk about good memories) and if they see a guy walking out with a woman who didn't walk in with him, they'll separate the two, ask the woman if she knows him, and if not, especially if woozy, calls her a cab. Most women don't report it at all because the drug itself makes the woman unsure of what is happening and what has happened and she blames herself. The Premier needs to do a better job of protecting women against these shadow predators than that photo op he staged back in October. The current situation is wrong.

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