Monday, May 23, 2011

British Columbia Out to "Get Theirs"

I would like to beg a favor, Dear Readers; in light of the fact that the rapture does not appear to have panned out, I would like this day (May 21, May 23, close enough) to be remembered for a different, yet no less noble reason. Today shall be remembered as the day I argued for the erosion of personal responsibility in favor of greater corporate responsibility. I hope the late Queen Victoria won't mind sharing her honorary day.

It seems that B.C is fed up: fed up with paying health care costs for when negligent boobs imperil other people's lives just to have "one more for the road". So they are aiming to Recover Costs, a phrase which, I must confess, sends chills down my spine as a herd of hallucinations involving bureaucrats with calipers slither past my vision. There might be pliers involved, and there is no place for businesses deemed Negligent to hide, except, of course, behind the best lawyers allotted expenses can provide.

Before my sense of the dramatic gets me carried away, I should confess this is nothing new; the province launched a lawsuit against major tobacco companies to recover the costs associated with treating the diseases of smoking years ago and seems to have gained a considerable amount. The difference brought about by this new development is that smoking is something one does to oneself (I hate that word) and so the injured and the injurious (I like that word) are the same person that cost recovery is likely to focus on. Sick people, however, are notably rather broke from treatment (no matter how well supplemented) and so the focus shifted to the greater culpability in the form of the tobacco companies that coerced people to smoke, often with duplicitous methods.

The link of culpability is not as strong with the connection of bars to drinkers. The hazards of smoking were hidden in the past, no one these days is confused about the possible consequences of drinking and driving. It requires an active amount of effort an the part of the bar (police people's liquor intake) rather than a passive effort on the part of the tobacconists  (stop advertising your products in such fashions). the point of this move is simply to open up a new lucrative avenue of cost collection. There is only so much money that can be squeezed from the bloodless stone that is a drunk driver, and after a point, the process tends to provoke a sort of learned helplessness in the person, which tends to exacerbate the exact problem they are dealing with: irresponsible behavior.

Now, fear not: I am still arguing for this move to greater culpability. I believe certain companies should be hounded for their 'contribution', however minor, to tragedies mostly because they are so damn good at policing their customers. Once it becomes clear that they are liable, and the bills start to pour in, you can bet drunk driving will fall dramatically. Sure, we aren't promoting an independent, responsible citizenry, but that does not seem to have worked very well anyway and this will ensure the innocent victims suffer no fall in service because the government is continually wringing blood from booze-soaked stones. 

1 comment:

Andy said...

Of course nothing stops a person from lying through their teeth or buying alcohol elsewhere. Might as well hand your keys on entry to the bar (like a coat chack) and do a disposable breathalizer on getting them back. Course once again you could just lie through your teeth, but then at least the bar isn't responsible . . . so a hard to police rule for a hard to police item. Sounds like a money waster.