A man named Kraemer understands perfectly well that smoking is bad for you, but a 60 year old habit is hard to break and he has NO intention of breaking it anytime soon.
Kraemer is now 76 year young and owns the Sparkles Cleaning Service and being a healthy man at this age he loves a puff or two when he’s by himself, at times at his home with a window slightly open in his recreation room or inside his sweet ride the Porsche SUV, always minding his own business and puffing away from other people who could breathe his second hand smoke fumes.
What really gets under his skin is those he calls “the smoke police,” the Smoke-Free Ontario enforcement cops or snitches who he feels have placed the no-smoking sign targets on his back.
The Ontario provincial anti-smoking laws set stringent regulations banning cigarette smoking within enclosed work-places, enclosed public-places, outdoor patios and even personal vehicles where kids are passengers and many other spaces they could think of in the name of protecting people from second-hand smoke.
However Mr. Kraemer scored one for the Marlboro-Man last week when his 3 workplace smoking infractions were dismissed at the Provincial Offences Court.
Kraemer who was slapped with the these charges last fall for lighting up inside his PRIVATE luxury SUV in a public parking lot at Baseline and Wellington road, shortly after he’s bought a doughnut and a cup of coffee from Tim Horton’s.
The vehicle’s title or ownership is registered to Sparkles and the issuing officer’s argument was that it is a workplace vehicle. Kraemer continued to argue that this vehicle was and is for his personal use only.
“This is my personal car that I drive from home to work and from work to home,” he said.
“The justice of the peace said, ‘I haven’t heard one shred of evidence that that car was ever used for business for Sparkles,’” said the victorious Kraemer.
Let’s back up a just a little bit, Mr. Kraemer has already paid financial penalties for his bad smoking habit and seems that he likely ruffled some feathers of the anti-smoking authorities groups.
About a one year ago, an enforcement officer or smoke cop came to his place of business on Wellington Road for a routine check.
Kraemer said he tended to smoke in his 2nd floor office away from the rest of the business with his door closed and window wide open and a even a fan blowing.
“Pretty soon we won’t be able to have a smoke except in the middle of some farmer’s field”
“There’s no smoke that ever goes down to where the employees are,” he said.
Kraemer said this smoke officer came into his office and then opened my desk drawer to discover an ash tray and a butted out cigarette. He issued 2 tickets to me, said Kraemer, each carrying a hefty $350 fine.
That just didn’t go over very well with Mr. Kraemer. “I was annoyed. Isn’t one ticket enough?”
Kraemer shared some choice words with this officer and told him to get the FK out. “I verbally said to him get the hell out of my office” and “I said some very nasty things maybe, I don’t know.”
The officer, Kraemer stated that the cop said, “We’ll be back.”
Meanwhile Kraemer paid those fines. Last fall came the tickets in the Tim Horton’s lot — for smoking in an enclosed workplace, failing to have a no-smoking sign in his SUV, and failing to properly supervise a workplace.
The enforcement police officer testified he was acting on “an anonymous complaint” when he watched Kraemer get into his SUV, drive to the coffee shop and through the drive-through and park his vehicle.
“I proceeded to have my coffee, my doughnut and my cigarette, and he walked up and he gave me three tickets,” Kraemer said.
With fines that might have run into thousands of dollars, Kraemer took this to court.
His defense attorney Gordon Cudmore effectively argued that Kraemer wasn’t an employee; and the SUV wasn’t a workplace where an employee might in point of fact work and that “common sense” would dictate that Kraemer wasn’t breaching any smoking laws.
No vacuum, broom, dustpan or work papers were found inside this motor vehicle and there were no distinguishing Sparkles insignia on the automobile with the rendering of a young lady with a dust-mop that’s on the company’s fleet of white cars with green and yellow signage.
Kraemer isn’t even a worker. He’s a shareholder that is paid with dividends from the company.
The justice of the peace agreed that the tickets went a step too far.
“It’s just a waste of taxpayers’ money as far as I’m concerned,” Cudmore said about those charges.
“And the law was never intended to consider a situation like this.”
Kraemer went one step further. “Who would use a Porsche to do house cleaning with?” he said.