The Shotgun Blog
Friday, July 30, 2010
Cheeky suitcase stickers banned in Canada
The above sticker has gotten entrepreneurs at Vancouver-based thecheeky.com in trouble with Transport Canada.
James Kusie, spokesman for Transport Minister John Baird, told the Vancouver Province in an email that "Joking around like this could possibly be a serious violation of the aeronautics act."
"Joking about potentially trafficking illegal substances, or worse, is not funny, and the government will use the full force of the law to ensure Canadians who travel by air are safe."
No one from Transport Canada has yet explained how stickers could possibly make air travel less safe for Canadians. Although some might speculate that stickers might become unstuck, causing paper cuts or stickiness of the fingers for baggage handlers. Whether or not that is an issue that Transport Canada should really be getting stuck up on is a separate matter.
Additionally, Kusie is apparently unaware of the fact that what counts as funny is not determined by the legality of an activity, or even it's potential offensiveness. Humour is not indicative of normative approval; laughing at stickers that portray illegal activity is not the same as endorsing an illegal activity.
In spite of Kusie's bad philosophy, he's managed to scare theCheeky.com from selling the $15 stickers in Canada. A footnote on their suitcase sticker section reads:
"*We are sorry but suitcase stickers are not available to residents of Canada."
The website further explains:
Due to the statement issued by the Canadian Government through the Ministry of Transportation for Canada, thecheeky.com will no longer sell suitcase stickers in Canada. ‘The full force of the law’ is too strong a statement to risk and we hope that at some point the Government will look around the world at some other reactions and re-consider their position.
Our intention has never been to cause risk or harm and was only to make stickers; stickers to put on a bag that might make people take a second glance and maybe smile… at the sticker. It’s a sticker. Our exposure to this media attention has been fun but not fun enough to hang out in prison and this statement puts us in a very awkward place.
The many orders for suitcase stickers that we have had in Canada will be fulfilled but after that we can’t take the risk and we’re sorry. All other products on thecheeky.com will continue. We hope.
Meanwhile, unlike the bumblers at Transport Canada, British security personnel do not appear concerned about the potentially harmful paper-cut-causing stickers. A UKBA spokesperson, asked about the stickers Canada has deemed dangerous and definitely not funny said:
"Our officers see a lot of joke stickers on suitcases and it doesn’t affect their professional approach to tackling smuggling of illegal goods. Staff that protect our borders are highly trained to identify people trying to smuggle illegal items. Our staff use intelligence and utilities the latest technology to ensure our border checks remain robust."
Dear Transport Canada: Please do not make Canada a laughingstock over stickers.
And, Dear Kusie: Those stickers are funny. Please stop being such a humourless, histrionic sourpuss and look up Louis CK on YouTube. When you've accustomed yourself to what is, in fact, funny, come back and look at the stickers, the rest of which we've conveniently posted for you below:
Going to jail for a joke: it was a reality in Stalinist Russia. Let's not let that happen here!
Posted by: Xanthippa | 2010-07-30 7:36:45 PM
I smell another Reader's Digest article...
Posted by: Michael Cust | 2010-07-31 1:31:17 AM
Thank you thecheeky.com for explaining to me what is funny . How would I ever exhibit a normal sense of humour without your cheesy crap on my luggage.
Posted by: daveh | 2010-07-31 7:31:33 AM
Ridiculous. This is what happens when you give petty bureaucrats too much power. They have absolutely no sense of humour.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-31 10:40:34 AM
Shane, just so you know - the spokesman would be a political staffer, not a member of the professional public service. So, to build on your comment, it would seem it's the current government that has absolutely no sense of humour. (Yeah, that sounds like Harper alright.)
Posted by: Ed | 2010-07-31 6:53:47 PM
Go figure. Seems like the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission is training customs staff from their book of "How to be a Bureaucratic Dumb Ass".
Posted by: Mark Anthony | 2010-08-01 12:13:07 AM
Yeah violence towards women is hilarious. Sick.
Posted by: fudgeland | 2010-08-03 7:29:14 AM
Our airport security personel are not as bright as British security. I think they hire anybody who likes to wear a uniform and act like he is a special force F.B.I kind of story! You should see the security at Montreal what a bunch of morons they roll their eyes at people and think everbody is stupid! Hello you work at an aeroport!!!
Posted by: chris | 2010-08-04 2:12:27 PM
Ed, there are three types of government workers--elected representatives, bureaucrats, and workers. Which type released this statement?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-08-04 2:35:30 PM
So you're saying you wouldn't be offended if the "hostage" were male, Fudgeland? Would that not be sick at all, or only less sick? How much less sick?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-08-04 2:36:26 PM
Shane, there are two kinds of "spokesman": either for the Department (bureaucrat) or for the Minister (political staff that work for the Minister). Mr. Kusie would be speaking on behalf of the politician. Possibly on the advice of the bureaucracy, but they would still have the discretion to tell the public servants to go *&?! themselves if they can't take a joke.
Posted by: Ed | 2010-08-15 11:23:40 AM
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