If the emails received over the weekend are any indication, Ontario amateur radio operators in great numbers are sending their reasoned and persuasive comments to the Ministry of Transportation in regards to Bill 118. This comes as a result of a government invitation to all stakeholders, not just amateur radio operators, to offer their comments about Bill 118 which will be introduced on Ontario roadways this fall.
A few individuals are expressing concern and surprise about what is happening. I’d suggest these folks read the previous blog entries to get themselves up to speed on Bill 118 and how the government process works. The Bill is still in the hands of staff who crafted the wording of the Bill which has passed third reading in the Legislature and is now law. Where we are now is in a process where exemptions and other fine tuning of the wording is taking place. Now is the time to add our comments to the process.
Let’s be clear on one point: This isn’t a RAC initiate.
It isn’t an initiative of the other stakeholders in this process. (At two stakeholders’s meetings organized by the Ontario Ministry of Transport over 50 groups and associations including RAC and two other amateur-radio related groups made presentations.) This situation was forced on us as a result of the passing of Bill 118 that is designed to make Ontario roadways safer by making the use of non hands-free cell phones illegal while driving.
This campaign is your intiative. By joining with your fellow amateur radio operators (whether they are or are not RAC members), we all stand together in defense of amateur radio operation in Ontario. Regardless of the outcome of this single issue, we the amateur radio community in Ontario will be stronger and better able to work together on future issues. And future issues are heading our way as governments continue to get more involved in tower issues, issues about public health from radiated signals and other issues we have not yet thought.
So what if we do find the use of two-way radios gets included in Bill 118? It will mean that amateur radio operators who wish to use their mobile amateur radio equipment while in a moving vehicle will have to use a hands-free system (BlueTooth, headset). But it won’t end amateur radio mobile operation. It will suggest to me that as a very large community, we have yet to discover ways of working together instead of working in ways that make us less effective. Right now I am highly encouraged by the way that Ontario hams are rallying together for the benefit of the entire community.
On a personal note: I’m active on the HF, VHF and UHF bands. I think Bill 118 is wonderful! I think any inclusion of two-way radio use would be a travesty. I’m not prepared to let it happen if I can help it. I’m working within the Radio Amateurs of Canada organization because I can multiple the effectiveness of my single voice by a factor of 50,000. As far as I’m concerned RAC is QRO compared to my QRP signal. Individuals are usually ineffective at creating change of this magnitude. Organizations, associations and groups can create change.
That’s why people join organizations like RAC. That’s why I joined and that’s why I’m inviting you to renew your membership and bring two other hams with you. We need each other right now and we will need each other in the future.
Look: I didn’t join RAC because it has a great magazine! (It does. TCA is excellent IMHO.) I didn’t join because I like the executive. (Heck I haven’t met most of them.) I didn’t join because I had an extra $50 kicking around. No I joined so I could lend my voice and my energy to contribute to the amateur radio hobby I love so much. My father was a ham (VE3FWR and later VE3HG) and he and I enjoyed our hobby together. If he were with us today, he’d be a RAC member. Now my wife, Marion, (VE3HEN – don’t ask) is a ham and she’s a RAC member.
Here’s the link to the RAC membership page: https://www.rac.ca/store/membership-form-e.htm . Join today.