[photo courtesy of CBC.ca]
"Starting April 1, child abuse registry checks will be mandatory for all cabbies to make sure they've never been convicted of an offence against children."
Seems reasonable, no? I mean, does anyone believe it's okay for any convicted child abuser to have regular, routine, and unsupervised contact with children? Who could possibly be against this? Who would actually assert it is a non-issue if convicted pedophiles are in regular contact with the children of this city? Well apparently the manager of Winnipeg's largest taxi fleet, Unicity Taxi's Gurmail Mangat, would do just that - - not only is he against it, he's said his company will not comply with the new regulations. Really Gurmail? You're fighting this? Cripes. YOU SIR, are an idiot!
Unlike the recent absurd battle over the unnecessary mandatory safety shield regulations, the adoption of a mandatory child abuse background check for all cabbies is both prudent and reasonable. Gurmail's faux argument that the vast majority of taxi fares are not children simply doesn't hold water. As one Winnipeg School Board has pointed out, it has children who take cabs to and from school every day. Translating into literally thousands of trips every year, one is hard pressed to see why any of these children should be placed in potential danger if even one driver is, in fact, a convicted sexual predator. To claim it is a non-issue is simply indefensible and borders on willful negligence. Gurmail Mangat is a moron.
Think what would happen if a representative of a daycare, teacher, and/or hockey coaching group came out against mandatory child abuse registry checks? Would we stand for that? I think not. By virtue of their job, Winnipeg Taxi drivers become privy to both the home addresses of children and to the child's daily routine; who among us believes a convicted pedophile should have a right to this information? Anyone?
If Gumail Mangat and Unicity Taxi persist in ignoring this law and, in fact, do fail to comply with its measures by April 1st, then the powers that be should use all powers at their disposal to take immediate punitive actions against the transgressors. On this issue, unlike the mandatory safety shield issue, Unicity Taxi does not have a leg to stand on. Without delay the government needs to send a simple but powerful message: Comply or else!
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