Free the bags! Calgary single use bylaw repealed

For those keeping track, councillors Courtney Walcott, Kourtney Penner and Gian-Carlo Carra voted for residents to keep paying for bags whenever they get takeout.

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It is refreshing to have some good news coming out of Calgary city council for a change, even when that news takes the form of them undoing some of their own mistakes. This is precisely what happened earlier this week, when council voted 12-3 to scrap the city's wildly unpopular single-use items bylaw.

Even Calgary’s historically unpopular Mayor Jyoti Gondek saw fit to reverse course, despite Calgary still apparently still being in the midst of a “climate emergency, voting in favour of repealing the heavily criticized bylaw.

The bylaw has been so poorly received and so broadly opposed that even Premier Danielle Smith took to X to celebrate the win for affordability and convenience.

For those unfamiliar with the bylaw, I outlined the details in a report when it was first implemented but, in a nutshell, it implemented a mandatory 15 cents for bags and mandated that bags must consist of 40% recycled material or more. If a business opted to provide free reusable bags as an alternative, they had to charge customers a minimum of $2.

Beyond this, the bylaw included a fine system that would see businesses paying $250 fines for giving customers — there to eat food — cutlery they didn't officially request.

In February, I spoke with Ward 13 Councillor Dan McLean, who has been one of the strongest opponents of the bylaw on council, just after a vote to initiate the repeal process passed by an 8-7 count.

At that time, McLean indicated that this meant the bylaw was all but certainly going to be repealed, but it might take some time. That commitment came to fruition with this week's 12-3 vote to finalize the repeal effective immediately for Calgarians.

For those keeping track, councillors Courtney Walcott, Kourtney Penner and Gian-Carlo Carra voted for residents to keep paying for bags whenever they get takeout.

Calgarians can breathe a sigh of relief for the time being, but knowing city council, I think folks should remain vigilant. I won’t be surprised if another wacko climate policy that drives up costs and makes life less convenient is just around the corner. There is no climate emergency, least of all in Canada. 

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  • By Adam Soos

PETITION: No Climate Emergency

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