In two short sentences, Dalton McGuinty distills modern provincial governance to its purest essence:
Perhaps the most precious thing we have in society is our children, and that includes our older children. We owe it to our kids to take the kinds of measures that ensure that they will grow up safe and sound and secure, and if that means a modest restriction on their freedoms until they reach the age of 22, then as a dad, I’m more than prepared to do that.
Children are only perhaps the most precious thing in our society? Pray tell what, you hideous monster, could possibly be more precious?
Seriously though, 19-through-21-year-olds are not “older children.” They are “adults,” and the government should restrict their freedoms, if at all, with the same caution as any other adults’ freedoms. That’s not very much caution, in Ontario’s case, but it’s more than this. The impression, which the government is making no effort to disavow, is that certain adult drivers will no longer be permitted to chauffeur more than one teenager (unless they’re immediate family members, because siblings never bicker and distract each other) or have a glass of wine with dinner and drive home, perhaps hours later, simply because MADD supported it and because a grieving father had enough money to buy full-page newspaper advertisements and to gain an audience with the Premier. McGuinty actually says in that soundbyte that he decided to restrict young Ontarians’ driving privileges as a father, not as Premier. I believe him. And I’m not okay with it at all.