Can Ban

The National Post has published an editorial coming out against PEI’s so-called “can ban.”

So I feel it only appropriate that I publish the contrary opinion. I have always thought the prohibition against selling pop in cans was a Good Thing. I don’t care whether it’s a anti-litter move, an economic assist to local Seaman’s Beverages or an aesthetic decision, it’s always made sense to me, from every angle.

The Post editorial’s main criticism of the law is that because other non-carbonated beverages are allowed to be sold in cans, the anti-litter, pro-environmental arguments for the ban must be false. Frankly, I don’t see the reasoning here; just because the law is incomplete doesn’t mean it’s ineffective or that the reasons underlying it aren’t genuine. Indeed it would seem to make more sense for the Post to argue for a complete ban on cans instead of an end to the partial ban we have right now.

Pop in bottles is one of the things that makes PEI a special place. I stand in full support of the current and former governments who, for whatever reasons, agree with me.


Lana's picture
Lana on March 6, 2002 - 05:17 Permalink

Have you been able to find a link to this so-called “pop can website” that the “pop can princess” launched? Neither the Post or the Globe gave the link.

Alan's picture
Alan on March 6, 2002 - 12:47 Permalink

As the ban does not control litter [all other forms being evident in the towns and the annual volunteer not-paid-for-by- government removal of litter by the Women’s Institutes (I think it is them?) being the cause of clean ditches in the country] and does not control use of cans (2 million pop cans coming in annually, umpteen zillion coming in filled with non-carbonated juices), it is only to protect the interests of the Seamans corporation.

So why do we do that? We relieve the management of the need to compete in the market even though they have fantastic pop — the best I have ever had…anywhere. We relieve the workers of competative labour environment where they might move to another beverage employer thus putting upward pressure on wages…remember the lowest wages in the Country are right here on the “special island”. We remove from the consumer the choice to buy what we want so that we buy these things out of the province thus paying our neighbours both generous taxes and profits on the sales.

So we gain what? Stasis. If the boogie man of the shutting of Seamans were to come to pass, the consumtion of pop would continue and work would be created in the delivery and recycling of cans. We would add to our tax base and our gross provincial GDP by having 2 million cans of pop bought within the province. If they actually got their act in gear and figured out how to sell their great product outside of the tiniest population base in North America, they would increase good jobs, increase the tax base and increase secondary jobs through the spending of the increased wages.

If the company took that on as a duty equal to the benefit they receive under law, I would be far more willing to support them. Sadly, they appear to be willing to apparently keep their feet up on the desk…something to be proud of I guess.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on March 6, 2002 - 15:23 Permalink

Not so much an argument as an observation: Pop in cans tastes like can. Pop in bottles tastes like pop. I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think can is part of a recommended diet.

Alan's picture
Alan on March 6, 2002 - 15:50 Permalink

Iron Brew is the “other national drink of Scotland” and contains iron filings, old fashioned tonic idea.

While I agree with the taste comment, Steven, legislating good taste is an even worse principle than legislating commercial activity — unless you are Albania in 1974, of course.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 6, 2002 - 15:54 Permalink

I don’t understand where all this feeling about Government somehow restricting our rights by prohibiting us from drinking pop in cans comes from. We, through our Government, restrict ourselves in many ways; this is simply another. Why is this different?

Alan's picture
Alan on March 6, 2002 - 16:09 Permalink

This is a simple consumer activity and a form of liberty in which they have no business being involved. What if they decided all but one blogs were banned because the one that hired 100 “Islanders” needed support? Same thing — my liberty, hands off unless there is a real reason for it. There is no litter, macro economic or micro development reason for this law. Plus, it is enforced by a criminal process, belittling the criminal process through misapplication. It deters the exercise of personal liberty generally by inflicting penal sanction on a fantastically unimportant individual decision. It deminishes democracy but telling the citizenship that their most basic and unimportant personal decisions can be randomly regulated. Reasons enough?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 6, 2002 - 16:10 Permalink

But your they is actually us, isn’t it. In other words, it’s not some imperial regime enforcing its will on our freedoms, its us encforcing our own will on our own freedoms.

Isaac Grant's picture
Isaac Grant on March 6, 2002 - 16:16 Permalink

What really bothers me is this survey thats been touted:

A recent survey said three in four Islanders would buy soft drinks in cans or plastic bottles, if given the choice”

Sure they’d buy softdrinks in cans if we used cans, but why not ask them if they mind the bottles. Isn’t that more pertinent? Maybe i’m misinterpreting the survey results, but it sounds like it was set up to get good results for cans (although granted, most surveys that are commisioned by someone with an agenda are set up to be skewed that direction anyway)

Alan's picture
Alan on March 6, 2002 - 16:34 Permalink

I do not believe “they” are not “us”. The degree to which different democratic societies embrace the democratic principle is not constant. Again, I am — like you, Peter — not talking about this government — but rather what I see as the habits of governance in the Province over time. We lack many things taken for granted in other jurisdictions in terms of the exercise of personal liberty: no public sector right to strike, access to medical services, Kevin’s bugaboo about the placement of traffic intersections for commercial rather that pedestrian purposes, for example. We also, for example, see inordinate deference to authority: a bizzare respect for the opinions and status of provincial represenatives (past and present) in the Senate comes to mind. In other provincial or state level “political cultures” there is a recognition that the governing structure is answerable to different degrees. This jurisdiction — for valid historical and cultural reasons — is both conversative and subject to homogenaity in policy to the point, I believe, there are great presumptions made in governance in relation to individual personal liberties. The pop ban is perhaps the most irritatingly trivial example of this. If there is an “us” who are “they”, I and most everyone I have met are not part of the “us”. Who is?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 6, 2002 - 16:37 Permalink

Alan, I will sign your nomination papers to aid in your putting yourself as a candidate for provincial office. You can get full details here. I’m sure once you’re an MLA, you will feel like part of “us.”

Alan's picture
Alan on March 6, 2002 - 16:45 Permalink

But why do I have to do that? Why can’t I just be left alone to interact with my neighbour and community as I feel right rather that having my autonomy and liberty restricted by laws which have little or no purpose and effect?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 6, 2002 - 16:47 Permalink

Because if you want to live in community with a bunch of other people, and share resources and land and opportunities with those others, and those others have a wild collection of approaches to life and liberty, you need a mechanism for resolving differences and the mechanism we’re using right now is our particular version of democratically elected representative government.

Alan's picture
Alan on March 6, 2002 - 16:52 Permalink

I didn’t sign away my liberty to that mechanism. Interestingly, there is a recent and wonderful development in the interpretation of the Charter’s use of the word liberty in section 7 which is now recognized to protect matters of personal autonomy such as where you live, how you raise your kids. The citizen is as much part of the polity as the legislature and the court. Laws like the “pop ban” chip away at that part of the foundation of the democracy by deterring folks from exercising and insisting on their right to exercise their autonomy from impositions of governance.

dave moses's picture
dave moses on March 6, 2002 - 17:05 Permalink

jesus. alan bring a quality of “broedrickification” to any issue… since he holds one view i’ll instinctively maintain the opposite. it’s sheer sophisitry to declare that banning canned pop is chipping away at ones liberty or our society’s democracy in any real way. come on. there are REAL threats to our society to our freedoms but this isn’t one of them

Johnny's picture
Johnny on March 6, 2002 - 17:59 Permalink

I don’t know about rights and freedoms and what not, but I really like the pop in glass bottles, and you can’t get it out here in Vancouver, or anywhere else for that matter (although there used to be a Mexican grocery store on Kingsway that had bootleg South American pop in bottles).

Alan's picture
Alan on March 6, 2002 - 19:13 Permalink

david: throughout with words like “trivial” and “tiny” I have tried to avoid the “Broedrification” — a condition I recognize and agree with its classification. It is a small matter but one that is indicative. It is not a danger except in the sonambulization effect I described above. But… rather than disagreeing with form, give your substantive thought. Peter and I are quite happy to merrily disagree. Don’t be such a wet towel.

Johnny: it is a shame that you cannot get the excellent Seamans product. Warning…if you phone the sales desk, they may need a moment to wake up…

Ann Thurlow's picture
Ann Thurlow on March 6, 2002 - 19:36 Permalink

I am personally disappointed that we don’t have a seltzer man like they used to in New York. He delivered a canister of fizzy water right to your house(and picked up the empty canister for re use) That way, you could add your own flavourings…resulting in wonderful things like egg creams…and there wasnever any noise about cans or bottles. Bring back seltzer! The environmentally friendly alternative!

Alan's picture
Alan on March 6, 2002 - 19:40 Permalink

In Truro in high school the Royal Pharmacy still had a soda fountain…jeeze I sound like an old fart… I’ll conclude this anecdote now…

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on March 6, 2002 - 22:34 Permalink

Sorry Dave, I’ve gotta’ go with Alan on this one, “Brodrickification” is capitalized. (But you’ve both spelled it wrong.)

Ann(e?): We had a seltzer distributor here a few years ago and they died under the weight of the can-ban, (and their product was not in cans), and recently that well known cell of eco-terrorism down at the Uncommon Grocer was poinged for the same reason.

I’m firmly on both sides of this issue — but on the issue of traffic lights for Sobeys, Irving, and Walmart I’m not likely to end up with picket-marks on my azz for fence sitting.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on March 6, 2002 - 22:35 Permalink

And I spelled it wrong too (three?): Broderickification.

Dave Moses's picture
Dave Moses on March 7, 2002 - 13:19 Permalink

alan: sorry, man. i wasn’t trying to be a wet towel. i was just trying to join the fun by pointing out that you were full of the bolonga. so i’ll just recognise the indictative and somnambulate away.

Alan's picture
Alan on March 7, 2002 - 14:32 Permalink

Fair enough — I am full of more than bologna and, in fact, you can hear me being full of bologna on Maritime Noon’s phone-in today as the typical grumpy gen-X’er facing 40.

In my defence, I was acting out “my profession” and this idea of the expansion of personal liberty from the state in the personal aspects of life is fascinating, especially as unlike the States we do not have a property right in the constitution. As a result, it is still unclear how it will play out but I have argued it in Court already about the over stepping of state action, order still pending.

As to the scale of a can, I remember Archie Bunker telling Edith “it’s the little things that kill you.”

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on March 12, 2002 - 22:40 Permalink

Somnambulate? Is that part of your common lexis? I’m impressed, feckin’ great word!

Alan's picture
Alan on March 13, 2002 - 14:52 Permalink

Almost as good as feck, Father Kev!

Andrew's picture
Andrew on April 16, 2002 - 03:22 Permalink

What bugs me is Islanders are not given the same market as every other Canadian. We do not have access to cheep brands of pop like Big 8 and Life. Maybe if government met us half way and allowed all beverages that can not be delivered in glass bottles to be delivered in cans and plastic bottles.

betsy's picture
betsy on September 26, 2003 - 15:23 Permalink

i betsy think there should be both cans and bottles so i can eat them all

SEAMAN's picture
SEAMAN on October 4, 2003 - 04:21 Permalink

i SEAMAN think that there should be only bottles because i love to save my seaman mixture in them.and then drink it with betsy.

cynthia vankeymeulen's picture
cynthia vankeymeulen on March 4, 2005 - 19:39 Permalink

the can ban stinks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kara's picture
kara on March 4, 2005 - 19:48 Permalink

I like to get my tounge stuck in the can, and Ilike to get it stuck to my shoe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! rock on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

taylor's picture
taylor on March 4, 2005 - 19:49 Permalink

I like the can ban! There has beenbottles on pei for 20 years and there is no reason to change it and lose money switching to it!

Dana Murphy's picture
Dana Murphy on March 4, 2005 - 19:51 Permalink

I Prefer Cans and im doin a project hehehehe

Ccynthia's picture
Ccynthia on March 4, 2005 - 19:53 Permalink

the cans are to cool to take from the kids if you take them from the kids then thats like taking a part of our heritage.

Mariah Thomson's picture
Mariah Thomson on March 4, 2005 - 19:55 Permalink

I Like Can Pop But I Dont Hve A Problem With Bottled.

DJ Lundrigan's picture
DJ Lundrigan on March 4, 2005 - 19:56 Permalink

Thats not cool dog cans r cool like dana murphy

Melissa Whibley's picture
Melissa Whibley on March 4, 2005 - 19:56 Permalink


Cynthia's picture
Cynthia on March 4, 2005 - 19:57 Permalink

Cans have been on the Island for years and I hope they will be back on the Island for years and years to come.

Melissa Whibley's picture
Melissa Whibley on March 4, 2005 - 19:57 Permalink


Cynthia's picture
Cynthia on March 7, 2005 - 14:27 Permalink


Cynthia's picture
Cynthia on March 7, 2005 - 14:29 Permalink


~*~Keltee~*~'s picture
~*~Keltee~*~ on March 7, 2005 - 14:30 Permalink

I like cans so me n betsy can eat them yumm yumm yumm yumm they taste like cookies!!!yumm yummm yumm yum!!!

betsy's picture
betsy on March 7, 2005 - 14:32 Permalink

please have cans i like to eat them better than bottles because my tounge gets cut when i eat bottles :P and that sucks