Let's face it -- Canadians have never favoured individual liberty. Compared to the "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" ethic of our neighbours to the south, we have instead opted for "peace, ...
Let’s face it — Canadians have never favoured individual liberty. Compared to the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” ethic of our neighbours to the south, we have instead opted for “peace, order and good government.” It’s generally worked well for us, I think better than the American approach, although at this moment, I’m having a few doubts. That’s because as I write this in Toronto, two supercharged Corvettes are in a police impound yard for allegedly “street racing.” The two drivers were in fact Americans who were speeding on the controlled-access Highway 400 north of the city. The drivers are facing numerous charges, which is to be expected, since some sources reported speeds approaching 230 km/h. But the scary part is the assertion from provincial officials that vehicles with aftermarket speed parts may be impounded and crushed without charges being laid or a conviction recorded.
Like much else that goes on in Ontario, it’s a combination of a knee-jerk political response to a relatively obscure issue (two drivers are currently before the courts for a tragedy in which they’re alleged to have street raced, causing an accident that killed a trucker) and the opportunistic use of vehicles and their drivers to blow a smoke screen over the more important issues facing citizens: What is street racing?
When I was young, street racing happened late at night, on a deserted road with a CB-equipped spotter watching for police. There were no innocent motorists to hit. Idiots weaving through highway traffic while chasing each other are not racing, but are criminals who need to do some jail time if they kill or injure someone. But to go from that to seizing “race-prepared” cars preventatively seems a bit of a leap. What about street rods and the many drivers who use their cars for track days, autocross or bracket racing at a local drag strip? Are these folks ‘street racers’ as the government would now define?
This is another attempt to turn light vehicles into impersonal transportation modules at a time where we need the enthusiasm of young hot rodders to fill the ever-depleting ranks of the service aftermarket. Want to beat street racing? Build a multi-purpose racing facility near every major city and get youth involved. Or do it the Nevada way and close a road for a weekend or two in the summer and run speed trials with regulated classes and safety equipment. A 12- or 13-second ET-slip says “don’t race me” as well as a chromed blower or turbo poking through the hood. Then free the police to go after the guns and crack cocaine.
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