Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Panhandling's not illegal...yet

There is a new potential law on the books of the Nova Scotia government. Halifax city council voted overwhelmingly in favour of recommending the "Safe Streets Act" to the province allowing the police to arrest aggressive panhandlers.

Click here for the CBC Nova Scotia article.

One member of an activist group present during the vote had to be carried out of City Hall by police after they were asked to leave, so there is definately some disagreement as to whether it was a good idea. But What I think is the most curious thing about this propsed law is the question, "What exactly defines aggressive?" I've never had a panhandler get physically aggressive with me, but I've had them ask me repeatedly for money. Enough that I felt uncomfortable and just wanted to get the hell away from them.

Is this just an excuse, as the protester said, to "make poverty illegal" or is it a reasonable course of action given that panhandlers can be potentially dangerous to the public?

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