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Toronto News and Views

City councillor threatens veterans

by arthur Weinreb,

November 10, 2004

Toronto City Council has been providing tax breaks to branches of the Royal Canadian Legion. Under the provisions, veterans’ clubs in Toronto receive a 100 per cent property tax rebate, which this year amounted to over a quarter of a million dollars. Councillor Howard Moscoe is planning to introduce a motion before council to revoke this tax break if the vets continue to allow smoking on the premises of their clubs.

Moscoe’s supposed reason for trying to force the clubs to become smoke free is that they are allowing non-members to drink and smoke in their premises. Out of necessity, veterans do allow non-members into their clubs. after all, the vets are a dying breed in Canada--literally. The older members are dying off and since the once proud Canada doesn’t do wars anymore, they are not being replaced. But the purpose of the clubs is to benefit those who risked their lives so that people like Howard Moscoe can be free to shoot off their big mouths. and for that service, Moscoe feels no compunction about kicking them in the teeth.

Supposedly Moscoe decided to go after those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice when a business owner in his riding was losing business. apparently some patrons were leaving his establishment to drink at a legion where they can light up. Losing business? That can’t be right. after all it was Moscoe and his left wing council associates that have been telling the unwashed masses that banning smoking would increase business in restaurants and bars because all the non smokers would come out. Howard probably forgot to tell his constituent that his business was actually increasing because he was in too much of a hurry to run off to bully the vets.

What adds to this absurdity is that Moscoe is trying to sound pro business. This is the guy whose last big hurrah was to try and force the city’s taxi drivers to buy new cars instead of used ones when they need replacement vehicles. Moscoe couldn’t have cared less if some taxi drivers, mostly new arrivals to this country, lost their livelihoods. Heads filled with more grey matter than the Toronto councillor have prevailed and Moscoe’s plan to force some cabbies out of business didn’t pass. But now suddenly, he would have us believe he’s a champion of small business. The truth is that his contempt for business is obviously less than his contempt for those who spent months and years fighting for Canada and freedom.

What Moscoe has done is far worse than what Bloc Quebecois MP andre Bellavance did last week. The rookie separatist MP refused to provide a Canadian flag to a veterans’ club because, as a separatist, he doesn’t hand out Canadian flags. at least Bellavance showed the veterans a modicum of respect by providing them with a number that they could call to obtain a flag. Moscoe’s advice to the aging war veterans was that if they want to smoke they can stand outside in the cold like everyone else does.

Howard Moscoe is a bully. Pushing around a group of elderly and disabled war veterans makes him feel good. If he actually had any guts, he would run over to afghanistan and force our current troops to butt out. But afghanistan is dangerous and you pretty well need a weapon over there. Unfortunately, the only thing that Howard can shoot off is his oversized mouth.

To threaten those who risked their lives and who have served this country so well is bad enough, but to do it the week before Remembrance Day is absolutely disgusting. The timing of Moscoe’s threat clearly shows what a poor excuse for a human being he actually is. His sarcastic quip that veterans cannot be allowed to smoke because they are elderly and dying anyway shows a degree of sensitivity usually only found in serial killers. To Howard Moscoe, these veterans are nothing more than props--to be used so that the little councillor can show what a big man he is. In a council of anti-war leftists, who are on a never ending quest to control every aspect of peoples’ lives, Howard Moscoe stands out.

as with his indifference to hard working taxi drivers, hopefully cooler and more compassionate heads will prevail.