Vern's Verbal Vibe

Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and purveyor of folk 'n' roll: spirit-filled sad songs made better.

May 17, 2006

This is Nuts

Officials in Edmonton have banned peanuts from their football stadium because of a parent's complaint that her highly allergic child has to wear a mask and gloves while attending games. You can read the full article here.

Not only is this overkill; it's insanity. Sadly, no one bats an eye these days, as this sort of overreaction is completely in line with our eliminate-all-toxins agenda. The (eminently sane) compromise—creating a peanut-free section surrounding the youngster—was quickly mooted, as it was claimed that peanut shells or their aroma could waft toward the child from other parts of the stadium.

So, up to 60,000 people must avoid peanuts because one person might experience an allergic reaction. And hey, why stop there? Presumably this kid likes to go to the mall now and then. What if, God forbid, some food-court outlet cooks with nuts? Then there are schools, churches, city parks... I say we declare the entire City of Edmonton a peanut-free zone.

Having expunged the City of Champions of the vile legume, let's turn our attention to allergy sufferers in other cities. The sheer number (and severity) of allergens seems to be on the rise. We've all heard of (or known people with) sensitivities to animals, pollen, perfumes, various foods and chemicals, and everyone's favourite whipping boy, cigarette smoke. Are we going to ban everything under the sun because it might provoke a reaction in somebody, somewhere?

Lest you think me an uncaring curmudgeon, let it be noted that I have a peanut allergy myself. Here's another commentator who thinks the peanut ban is nuts, and an editorial decrying the draconian measure.

In a related development, the City of Ottawa is considering a ban on "artificial fragrances" in city buildings, sports facilities, and the transit system. This would include not only perfumes, "but scented soaps, deodorants, hairsprays, cosmetics, household and industrial cleaning products, and numerous body fragrance products."

I empathize with the environmentally sensitive and agree that, to a point, their needs ought to be accommodated; what I object to is their unilateral hijacking of our municipal bylaws.


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