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Sure, the law is the law

The kid’s lemonade stand in Ottawa:


On Monday, the Andrews visited the federal agency to apply for a permit. Perhaps conscious of the many who had framed the girls’ foray into Ottawa’s byzantine bureaucracy as a struggle of David against Goliath, an agency spokesperson apologised to the young entrepreneurs and offered to waive the C$35 permit fee.

In a later statement, the agency defended its earlier actions and made it clear that no exceptions would be made for the girls. “Given the location of the lemonade stand, the Conservation Officer acted in good faith in applying the federal land use rules in place.”

The situation could have been handled differently, it acknowledged. “Children’s lemonade stands are a time-honoured summer tradition that contributes to a lively capital and the NCC wants to encourage these activities whenever possible.” Officials said the girls’ permit application would be likely expedited so that they could have the stand up and running by this weekend.

The timeline was questioned by the girls’ father who pointed to the magnitude of paperwork being demanded for the stand. “The girls can’t provide proof of insurance. They can’t provide a site map. And so on and so forth,” he told CTV News. “So I expect that there’s going to have to be some … modification of the normal bureaucracy here.”

Site map?

Can we hang all the bureaucrats yet?

23 thoughts on “Sure, the law is the law”

  1. All that changed was publicity. Until the stone was lifted and they scuttled away in panic, the boot was firmly on the neck.

    Business was just beginning to pick up – the two had earned C$52 in about an hour – when a passerby stopped to ask them if they had a permit for their lemonade stand.

    Guardian reader?

  2. So, we can drop insurance and site maps from others? If they’re pointless, we don’t need them for professionals selling drinks either.

  3. bloke (temporarily not) in spain

    But isn’t this an example of why bureaucracies become Byzantine?
    In an ideal world, say a small village, it would be easy to discriminate between a young lass selling lemonade & some greaseball flogging salmonella burgers at he roadside.
    “Carry on, sweetie & good luck”
    “Buggeroff assole.”
    Scale up to a city & you need laws to prevent the latter. But now you’re saying the same laws should permit the former. Now try & formulate a law covers this.
    Good luck.

  4. Expanding in what Andrew M said, when I read stories like this I hold off on the sympathy until I’ve found out a bit more about the victims. For instance, have the parents voted for years in favour of lefty politics and meddling bureaucracy, confident in its virtue provided it is applied to somebody else? If so, then they’ve only got themselves to blame.

  5. I’ll be running a bar for about 250 people over the bank holiday weekend.

    Paperwork required: fill in a form to say I’m doing it, and pay £21.

    The only trouble I’ve had is that once the police questioned the fact that I said I was opening at 3pm on Thursday and closing at 3pm on Monday – they wanted to know when I ‘d be closed in between. When I said I wasn’t going to, they explained that they needed to put a start and end date each day on their computer. So we agreed no booze would be sold between 7am and 8am.

    Oh, and when the no-smoking laws came in someone came round to give me a load of stickers to put on tent doors.

    Can’t get a much lighter touch, to be honest.

  6. I’m surprised neither the girls nor their Dad are capable of going into Google Maps, printing where their stall is and then marking a small square for the stall. A site map doesn’t seem the hardest of hurdles nor unreasonable for the city to want to know where the stall actually is.

  7. Mr (tn) in Spain, are you comparing like with like, though?

    I mean, barring the unlikely chance the girl is deliberately lacing her lemonade with cyanide, what harm can possibly occur if you buy unlicensed home brew lemonade?

  8. when a passerby stopped to ask them if they had a permit for their lemonade stand.

    Name and shame the “passerby”.

    And Mr. Ecks’ first thought was my first thought as well.

  9. Tim Newman,

    I don’t know about the parents, but you know that this is the result of laws passed because of how people/society behaved or demanded things from their lawmakers. You know that all of the regulations around this are the result of the people demanding that Something Must Be Done, so the lawmakers pass a law.

    Look at the current sobbing over Hillsborough. But that sort of tough policing was what the public demanded as a result of football thuggery.

  10. The Mole: “… nor unreasonable for the city to want to know where the stall actually is.”

    When Guides start washing cars for Bob-a-Job Week, is the city going to demand to know where they are at all times too?

  11. “A site map doesn’t seem the hardest of hurdles nor unreasonable for the city to want to know where the stall actually is.”

    We see the same logic at work when people sneer at complaints about EU strictures about (for example) bananas. It shouldn’t be for the people to explain why laws are unnecessary. The burden should be on the state to explain why they are needed.

  12. @Julia If the guides are doing the car washing on the public road/pavement then perhaps, but presumably the guides are doing it on private property so it doesn’t matter (in the same way when the girls were doing it on their front lawn it didn’t matter)

    @Charlie surely it is appropriate for the city to know when people are placing obstructions/structures on city land?Particularly given placed in the wrong place they could cause fire risks, block fire routes or cause damage only evident when they are removed. Whether the price and time to collect and accept the information is appropriate is of course an additional debate.

    At least the girls have had a valuable lesson girls that if they want to move their business from their own property onto someone else’s property purely in order to make more money then there may be rents/taxes involved in taking advantage of someone else’s land!

  13. Pellinor’s right, it’s local policing that works.

    His example proves one side. To prove the other, several years ago a digger was stolen by some umm, travellers. The police were called, as the workmen bottled it. The Old Bill were called and duly arrived the next day. Even they had managed to work out that at 8mph and after 36 hours, the digger could well be off their patch…

  14. Pellinor

    Temporary Event Notice is it ? Just make sure your relatives aren’t using them as well, because the 5 per year limit applies to “all known associates” and it’s a surprisingly broad definition and applies nationally. A few people have been caught out by that…

    Did you apply for the whole premises or just the bar area ?

  15. Corvus Umbranox – I have a personal licence, so not limited to 5 a year 🙂

    I tend to be a bit vague about the premises (it’s on a camp site – I just specify the campsite address, and that it’ll be in tents on the site somewhere), and no-one has questioned them yet.

    Basically, the TEN system acts a filter. People like me, where no-one has any concerns, get through quite happily. People like the nightclub owner I once met, who reckoned that a TEN was a good way of getting outside his licence conditions once a month, will get picked up.

  16. My first thought was what was Murphyloon doing in Ottawa. Then I realized that the issue would be tax evasion, not permitting so it must be someone else.

  17. Ah, yes, isn’t it 50 with a personal licence?

    It’s 21 days per site but if you’re clever you can move the licensed area around and get multiples of that.

    Yeah if the LA or police spot that, they can insist on applying the premises conditions.

  18. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Ted S.: when a passerby stopped to ask them if they had a permit for their lemonade stand.

    Name and shame the “passerby”. Tie the “passerby” to a telegraph pole and whip it until its vertebrae show.

    Fixed it for you.

  19. have the parents voted for years in favour of lefty politics…

    They live in freakin’ Ottawa, fer Gawds sake; OF COURSE they have voted for lefty identitarian political bollocks.

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