Penticton citizens’ rights going up in smoke

The last time I looked, the air was free in wide open spaces such as highway rest stops, sidewalks, parks and beaches

I refer you to the Western News article by Steve Kidd on March 6, “Penticton beaches soon to be off limits to smokers.” Let me first say that I am a smoker and I entirely agree with the bylaws stating that smoking is banned at bus stops, inside most buildings and three metres from the outside entrances to any and all establishments.

The last time I looked, the air was free in wide open spaces such as highway rest stops, sidewalks, parks, beaches, sports fields, channel walkway, KVR Trail and by an outside entrance to the SOEC, which is deemed a designated area for smokers.

Smoking is a constitutional right. What Mayor Dan Ashton and city council are trying to do is unethical and immoral. They think by passing this bylaw it is going to bring more tourists to Penticton. Just the opposite, it is going to stop smokers from coming here and that will take away revenue from this city. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Most smokers I have seen are very respectable when it comes to smoking in large gatherings. They just walk away and find a place to smoke that is near and come back to wherever they were. No harm done and everyone is happy, smokers and non-smokers alike. So why stick your noses into something that does not concern you?

I would also like to address the comments by Coun. Garry Litke. Mr. Litke, do you honestly believe banning smoking on the beaches is going to change one’s lifestyle? You are supposed to be an intelligent fellow, and making statements like that shows me just how ridiculous you are. And further more, you did not stop there.

Again, do you really think that you are responsible for my rights. Let me tell you something, Mr. Litke, you are in no way, shape or form responsible for my rights. My rights are my rights. And who gave you the right to say such a thing. It is obvious to me that Mr. Litke is missing a very large part of his grey matter.

And let’s not forget another wonderful bag of words that came out of Mr. Litke’s mouth: “We end up paying for their health problems.” Let’s see, we’ve got Litke the councillor, Litke a human rights advocate and Litke an Interior Health activist. That’s too many hats Garry

Let’s face it, this is very wrong. And as Wes Hopkin said, smoking is not illegal. So what are you going to do Mr. Ashton and Mr. Litke, put me in jail. And in closing, I think the people of Penticton should get a public apology from Mr. Litke for the comments made to them in the Western News. Own up Mr. Litke. Admit when your wrong, that’s the least you can do.

Garry Fawcett