Should Toronto outlaw panhandling?
In article entitled "How Rob Ford could improve T.O." the Toronto Sun suggests that Mayor Rob Ford consider a ban on panhandling, doing away with the mandatory plastic bag fee, and implementing a cyclist licensing program. We've already polled readers about the latter two suggestions at one point or another, but what about the first? Is this an idea that makes any sense?
There's little doubt that aggressive panhandlers can pose a nuisance to pedestrians going about their business, but one wonders whether or not the desire to outlaw such an enterprise just misdiagnoses the symptom for the disease. The presence of panhandlers on city streets marks a deeper problem than social awkwardness, and merely banning the activity does little to address the core problem of poverty.
Below is some feedback from our Twitter followers on the Sun's suggestion and an opportunity to vote in a poll on the subject. Given the sentiment of the tweets, the poll is hardly placed in a neutral context, but I wanted a way to keep the question open beyond the initial Twitter call.
@blogTO The safe streets act back in the early 2000s tried to address the same problem. Its only a move to criminalize the poor. Sad times.
@blogTO re: outlaw panhandling suggestion->Outlawing panhandling not the answer. We need more programs to get help them homes & jobs
@blogTO As long as they include those charity solicitors who bug you for credit card donations as you're walking down the street.
Not before they outlaw SunTV. "@blogTO: Recently the Sun suggested that Toronto outlaw panhandling. Thoughts/comments on this idea?"
@blogTO Completely support this. Toronto would be a much cleaner city. See Sydney. Didn't see 1 panhandler or homeless person.
@blogTO outlawing panhandling will not solve anything. Toronto still needs to help these people get off the streets instead of fining them
@blogTO Outlawing panhandling is just another cost to keep a simple "nuisance" away & will = more crime. Better used in social programs.
@blogTO I guess another more step towards police state is ONE way to handle the poverty problem.
@blogTO If outlawed, then the city needs to come up with a realistic and solid means of ending poverty.
@blogTO As far as I can tell...pan handlers are the only people that use the Sun..for bedding & ground-cover since it's unreadable.
@blogTO I've been suggesting a panhandling district on Toronto Island for years.
Hope they're ready to fund homeless shelters RT @blogTO: Recently the Sun suggested that Toronto outlaw panhandling. Thoughts/comments?
Photo by Spirited_Away in the blogTO Flickr pool