On December 12, 2006, Thomas Manville, operator of a non-profit organization named Club Via that helps provide gymnastics programs for disadvantaged children in North Shore La Plaine, reported that they have lost around $8,124.89 in total bingo profits or an equivalent of 21.39% of their fundraising money since the passage of Bill 112, the smoking ban law in Quebec, which took effect last May 31st.
The smoking ban forbids smoking in public areas like bars, restaurants and bingo halls. Attendance at the Bingo Hall has suffered dramatically, dropping about 9.36% since the smoking ban was implemented almost 6 months ago. Manville said that while he agrees that children should not be exposed to second-hand smoking, the government officials have been too drastic and have not carefully thought about the consequences of this law to the businesses in the area, especially non-profit organizations whose only source of funds is bingo fundraisers. The worst case scenario would be that they would have to stop the entire program.
Mr. Manville was one of the representatives for the non-profit groups that congregated on Tuesday for Bingo Pie IX to call on provincial officials to change their position and implement a more reasonable law that would allow bingo halls to accommodate smokers and non-smokers alike under some changes. Serge Beaudoin, Chairman of the Jeunes Sportifs Hochelaga in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, commented that the worsening situation is aggravated further by shortages in revenues from bingo events which will eventually cause the cancellation of youth programs and the abandonment of some community programs due to the lack of funds.
The victims in this situation would be the people who desperately need these projects. Manville added that they are not telling the government to repeal the law, but they are asking to allow smokers and non-smokers to co-exist peacefully. He also thinks that a glass divider and proper ventilation would greatly help their cause and enable bingo halls to accommodate customers who smoke.
Thursday, March 01, 2007