COLLEGE October 20, 2001
By Kirsten Ferguson
The minimum fine for drunk driving is $600 under the Criminal Code
The minimum fine for selling non-alcoholic carbonated flavoured beverages
in cans on Prince Edward Island is $1,000 under the provincial Environmental
Somehow, these figures don't look right to me.
Attending Uncommon Grocer owner Barb MacLeod's Oct. 9 provincial court
trial was quite a learning experience.
I learned illegal canned beverages in Island store shelves are stored
in plastic Baggies and locked in seizure rooms. I learned cans, fruit
juice, and carbon dioxide combined together can create irrepairable
environmental damage, but only on P.E.I.
Of course, canned fruit juice without the fizz causes no environmental
damage. Neither do unflavoured carbonated beverages like club soda.
Does this explanation make any sense to you? It doesn't make sense
to me, either, but it's the reason why canned pop and beer have been
missing from Island store shelves since the mid-1980's.
It's also the reason why provincial court judge John Douglas said
MacLeod had no choice but to pay $1,000 for selling fizzy canned fruit
drinks in her store, even though he earlier said she and her lawyer
made an interesting argument about why some canned drinks are banned
in P.E.I., but not others.
Prince Edward Island is the only place in North America selling pop
in refillable glass containers, but that doesn't stop thousands of
us from coming home with boxes of illegal canned pop every time we
return from a trip to another province.
Maybe the Confederation Bridge staff should start searching every
vehicle entering P.E.I. to make sure none of those nasty, environmentally-unfriendly
pop and beer cans “from away” can pollute our beautiful island.
Broken beer and pop glass bottles look much better scattered along
our roadsides than those ugly tin cans, you understand.
MacLeod will have to appeal or take her case to the legislature if
she wants the law to change, even though she says she doesn't want
to lift the “can ban” itself. She just wants the right to sell a healthy
alternative to soda pop.
But her case might finally cause the legislature to change this ridiculous
and outdated act, which some people say exists not to protect the
environment, but to protect the local Seaman's bottling plant employees.
Environment Minister Chester Gillan says another reason why the law
hasn't changed is because there's no recycling program for non-refillable
containers on P.E.I. If the Waste Watch management program is established
province-wide this year, this will soon change, too.
Until then, I have a solution. Why doesn't P.E.I. lift the ban on
selling fizzy canned drinks and keep selling pop in glass bottles
while the rest of Canada bans those ugly plastic pop bottles, which
truly are environmentally-unfriendly?
Islanders could then buy all the canned pop and beer they wanted and
Seaman's employees could keep their jobs while supplying the rest
of Canada with glass-bottled pop to replace those horrible plastic
I don't think we would hear too many complaints about that.