>Also available on Calgary Herald’s The Q

This week the issue of banning cell phones while driving in our prosperous province has once again risen like a perennial flower in one of the cities gardens. But like a beautiful rose bush, it is a great idea in principal but give it some time and some uneducated shmuck and his 72 friends will step all over it for no reason.

How else would you explain Ed Stelmach’s simply ridiculous stance against the issue that would save countless lives and dollars every year.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about Stelmach’s stubbornness on the issue of the cell phone ban is his reasoning. He argues that if we were to ban cell phones we would also have to ban eating in the car and listening to the radio. And while I would gladly rejoice at the idea of not having to listen Vibe 98.5 as much as the next guy, Ed is simply missing the point. No one is asking him to ban those other things. Driving and talking on your cell phone is a distraction. Plain and simple. You have one less hand on the wheel for a continuous amount of time. It’s doesn’t get more dangerous than that. And what about texting or standard cars? Why not just ban cell phones? Why even take the risk?

I’m no saint. I’m perhaps one of the guiltiest people for talking on my cell phone while driving. I’ll call anyone when I’m driving. I’ll argue with my mom. Check in with my roommate. Call a long lost friend. I don’t know why I do it, but I know it’s wrong. But I’m also one of the first to agree that it has to go.

Which raises another point. Ask around and you’ll be hard pressed to find any driver that doesn’t agree with the ban. In fact in a recent poll 87% of Albertans agreed with the idea of a cell phone ban. If Ed is going to argue that we gave him 72 seat Majority Government for a reason, how is he going to argue with 87%? You can’t argue with a percentage like that. Unless you are my mother, she’ll argue with you about anything.

Government reports or not, everyone knows that talking on your cell phone while behind the while is both dangerous and stupid. How else do you explain why three other provinces have already banned it. (Mike’s Bloggity Blog Blob shout out to Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador!)

The point is simple. Ed Stelmach has never been able to make a bold stance on anything besides his precious oil sands. (Thanks for the $1.25/litre gas by the way). So we shouldn’t be surprised that he won’t stand up and ban the use of cell phones. By not passing the bill Stelmach and his government should be blamed for every death on Alberta roads caused by chatty distracted drivers. There is a simple way to save innocent lives; Stelmach is just too busy singing along to Britney to hear it.

Mike Morrison