Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Toronto Reduced to Begging

Toronto City Council intends to increase the number of billboards on municipal property. The Toronto Transit Commission has signed away naming rights to our subway stations. Under consideration is the plastering of advertising on our historic ferries to the islands. The Toronto Public Library is considering commercial advertising on and in its buildings.

These agencies of government admit they are forced into a sell-out of principles because of budget restraints in these difficult times. (When were economic times easy?) I suggest council, commission and board members rent out their bodies by toting sandwich boards extolling the virtues of commercial enterprise, such as a developer.

Fortunately for humankind, the Library has principles. It will not accept advertising for tobacco or alcohol products, religious beliefs, or politics. Permitted is advertising for gambling, oleoresinous fast food and sugar-saturated soft drinks.

Another principle is that the advertising does not "intrude on people's educational space." The MacDonald  clown will be barred from the stacks. Yet another principle is that ads do not "adversely or negatively impact the library's image" and that they should "maintain the welcoming and functioning elements of the library environment and the integrity of its spaces."

Golden arches over a library entrance no doubt will qualify. They welcome millions every year to hamburger joints worldwide. The degree of acceptable intrusion is directly  related to the degree of financial stress. Under such stress, principles tend to bend.

As authorities become addicted to the income, wedgy principles have a way of becoming breaches of principle.  Witness the obscene relationship between the Ontario Government and its Frankenstein the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, relentlessly expanding operations across the province.

Groucho Marx summed it up: "I've got principles. If you don't like them, I have others."

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