By on May 9, 2017

Porsche cayenne diesel

While places like New York and California might come to mind first, no one bans things quite like the jurisdictions north of the border. Banning, a popular pastime given the cold outside temperatures, are always done in the hazy pursuit of public safety. Something bad could happen? Ban it.

When it comes to smoking, few will disagree that smoking in the workplace can have a negative impact on employees. The same goes for restaurant and bar patrons. As non-smoking areas (both indoors and outdoors) expand across the U.S., here’s a cautionary tale of how vindictive and overzealous an enforcer of these law can be.

They’ll nab you in your car.

In sleepy London, Ontario, about two hours from Detroit or Buffalo, a 76-year-old man is probably puffing away right now, content in having beaten The Man. The bizarre case began last fall as Harry Kraemer, owner of Sparkles Cleaning Service, was sitting outside a coffee shop in his Porsche Cayenne.

Having just purchased donuts and a coffee, Kraemer lit up. According to the London Free Press, that cigarette netted him three workplace smoking infraction tickets potentially worth thousands of dollars. As Kraemer was the owner of Sparkles Cleaning Service, his personal Cayenne was registered to it. That made the interior of the Porsche a workplace.

Under Ontario’s anti-smoking laws, workplaces must remain smoke-free. In many locations it is illegal to smoke within nine meters of an exterior door of a business, public place or an outdoor bus stop. Many cities have enacted outdoor smoking bans that even make puffing in a deserted, windy park a crime, let alone on a patio. Province-wide, it is illegal to smoke in a purpose-built outdoor smoking shelter that has more than two walls and a roof.

Smoking while standing outside that purpose-built smoking shelter, in the rain, is probably fine. Vindictive? Many see it that way.

So far, Ontario’s laws have yet to creep into personal vehicles — except when persons aged 16 or younger are present — so normally a person in Mr. Kraemer’s situation would have nothing to worry about. Sitting in a coffee shop parking lot, having a butt, not bothering anyone. However, taken to the extreme, the law stated that the interior of his business-registered vehicle — which no one drove but himself — was a workplace. Kraemer technically isn’t even an employee. He’s a shareholder.

The Smoke-Free Ontario enforcement officer who ticketed him wasn’t in the mood to see it any other way. Kraemer was fined three times. The charges included: smoking in an enclosed workplace, failing to have a no-smoking sign in his Cayenne, and failing to properly supervise a workplace.

With money to spare, Kraemer fought the tickets tooth and nail. As of last week, the Provincial Offences Court ruled in his favor, putting an end to what his lawyer called a massive waste of taxpayer’s money.

“The justice of the peace said, ‘I haven’t heard one shred of evidence that that car was ever used for business for Sparkles,'” Kraemer told the Free Press, adding he suspects he knows why the tickets landed in his lap. He blames “smoking cops” who were out to get him.

About six months earlier, an anti-smoking enforcement officer examined his place of business, discovering a cigarette butt in an ashtray in the desk drawer of his second-floor office. Kraemer claims he only smokes with the window open and fan on, with employees below being none the wiser. The ashtray’s contents landed him $700 in fines.

“I verbally told him to get the hell out of my office and I said some very nasty things maybe, I don’t know,” he claimed. It would seem his words weren’t well received. “We’ll be back,” the officer told him.

When Kraemer was nabbed while smoking in his Cayenne, the officer claimed in court he was working on an “anonymous tip” that compelled him to follow the Porsche from the suspect’s place of work to the coffee shop, where he then sat on him until Kraemer’s lighter touched the end of that white, tobacco-filled cylinder. Remember this when someone tells you Canada isn’t overregulated. To bolster that claim, a program manager at a local publicly funded health unit claims the officer wasn’t out of line for charging Kraemer.

There’s a reason Red Barchetta was written by a Canadian band.

This cautionary tale is now over. Tread carefully.

[Image: Porsche]

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71 Comments on “Elderly Man Wins Court Case After Receiving Three Tickets for Smoking in His Porsche...”


  • avatar
    prisoners

    So some inspector got his panties in a bunch after being told off by a guy who no doubt busted his butt to build/operate his own business. Then said tool-of-the-state plotted to harass the guy even more to prove his point about being in charge. This is the kind of behavior and abuse of position that gets government offices on a hit-list of radical individuals.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Canada has radical revolutionaries?

      (Outside of Quebec and some of the Natives, that is?)

      • 0 avatar
        prisoners

        If this keeps up they will.

      • 0 avatar
        rehposolihp

        They Riel-y do. Even in Manitoba.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Sigivald – “Canada has radical revolutionaries?’

        Recently there was a “revolutionary” that shot up a place of worship and killed 6 and wounded 19.

        • 0 avatar
          markf

          Or the revolutionary who shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            markf – The worst cases of mass shootings in Canada have been right wing extremists.Marc Lepine walked into the Ecole Polytechnique and went on a 10-minute shooting rampage. He murdered 14 women and injured 13 others before killing himself. He was right wing anti-feminist. Muslim Terrorists are just as right wing as the guy who shot up the Mosque or shot up a College.

            I do appreciate the fact that you made an attempt at citing a real case to explain your point of view. Keep it up. The search for truth has a positive effect on one’s mind and soul.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @prisoners – that is the exact sort of thing that spawns what we are seeing in the USA. People want to see politicians and their minions fragged.

      The bylaw enforcement officer should be fired but most likely is unionized so that means he gets sent to a course on harassment.

      • 0 avatar
        prisoners

        agreed. I understand the need for sensible code enforcement to protect the safety of everyone involved but in no way can those tickets be justified. The officer will no doubt receive nothing in the way of real punishment but I’d love to see him/her get a payroll deduction to cover the court fees and the defendant’s time.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          This guy is lucky. In the US the cop would have stole all his cash, sodomized him with his night stick, emptied his clip on him and then wrote up a false report and got hailed on the Facebook and other LEO sites as a hero.

          What racists and idiots don’t get is that groups like Black Lives Matter are trying to make all bad cops, including this one, accountable. It is almost impossible to hold any worthless public sector union employee accountable, but cops can do the most damage (although union teachers molest and abuse plenty of students).

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “Black Lives Matter are trying to …”

            From what I’ve seen they’re more into blocking interstates and advocating to de-police their neighborhoods, worsening the situation for non-criminals in those locales. There’s definitely a serious issue with violent crime and mutual distrust between citizens and law enforcement in those neighborhoods, but boy is BLM going about “raising awareness” in a bizarre and counterproductive fashion.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            @racer-esq.

            The most ridiculous post I’ve ever read.

    • 0 avatar
      Gardiner Westbound

      So many civil servants with too much time on their hands.

  • avatar
    Proud2BUnion

    The only reason to register his Porsche to his business, rather as his personal vehicle, was to avoid personally paying the taxes that would go along with it. He deserved the shabby treatment he received.

    • 0 avatar
      Carzzi

      “He deserved the shabby treatment he received.”
      — A poster above.

      Now there’s a manifestation of rabid wealth envy.

      • 0 avatar
        Proud2BUnion

        Sorry Carzzi- Not envious of the wealthy, I just take issue with tax evaders.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          It’s a company vehicle because it gets boss/owner to work. Why do you have a problem with people using legal means to minimize their taxes?

          • 0 avatar
            Steve65

            I can’t speak for him, but I take issue because he openly wants (and has) it both ways:

            “The justice of the peace said, ‘I haven’t heard one shred of evidence that that car was ever used for business for Sparkles,’” Kraemer told the Free Press.

            Looks like an open admission of tax evasion to me.

        • 0 avatar

          “Tax evaders”? Whose money is it?

          Brings to mind the late, great Sonny Boy Williamson II’s Get Yo’ Hand Out of My Pocket ‘Cause Ain’t Nothin’ There Belong to You.

          • 0 avatar
            Sam Hall

            He means that the Porsche isn’t really used for business activities. Except that it is, even if only for Mr Kramer to drive to business-related meetings. And even if it weren’t, that wouldn’t justify dinging him for smoking while no employees are present.

            Taking legal advantage of tax loopholes makes you smart–it would be dumb to voluntarily pay extra taxes out of some weird sense of altruism, especially when those taxes pay for Nurse Ratched to hand out tickets for smoking. In addition, if Kramer’s business has shareholders, he has a fiduciary responsibility to minimize costs, including the tax bill.

        • 0 avatar

          @ Proud2BUnion – Every time you’ve used a legitimate deduction on your taxes, are you guilty of tax evasion? By your logic it would seem the answer is yes. The guy took a legit deduction. Gray/grey area; perhaps – legit nonetheless.

        • 0 avatar
          Carzzi

          “Sorry Carzzi- Not envious of the wealthy, I just take issue with tax evaders.”

          Only, that he is a tax avoider, not a tax evader. Avoidance is a fiduciary duty; evasion, a crime.

    • 0 avatar
      bking12762

      Wow!…I truly enjoy the insight revealed when the light is exposed to this type of mindset.

  • avatar
    prisoners

    Purchasing a vehicle through one’s business is perfectly legit. Would you think it’s OK if he bought a used Kia instead?

    • 0 avatar
      Proud2BUnion

      Get real- I’m quite sure he is not the worker traveling to the clients homes or offices to provide his firms cleaning services in a Porsche. A used Kia WOULD fit the bill for those legitimate needs.

      • 0 avatar
        prisoners

        I’m not knowledgeable of the tax laws in the great white north, but in the US of A small business owners get taxed for everything under the sun. Workers have no idea what their employers have to go through for the “privilege” of being self-employed. I’m all in favor of using every loophole to their advantage.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          IIRC his company should be able to write it off and his expenses over 3 years BUT the problem with his vehicle being a 4 door with 2 sets of seats means that he is still on the hook for personal use. He has to document personal use and work use if he drives it home from work or does “personal” errands with it.

          His company can write off the vehicle and any work use but “he” has to claim personal use as a benefit i.e. equivalent to income that he personally has to claim on taxes.

          It is an odd situation to be in, if I recall tax law correctly.

          My brother as a manager for a large forest resource company gets a company crew cab that the company writes off. He has to claim personal use because it (according to Revenue Canada) can be used as a “family” vehicle. If he goes on a personal trip with it, he is on the hook for fuel and repairs according to the company policy.
          He has no issue forking out the extra taxes for personal use because it still is considerably less expensive than buying a vehicle. The last vehicle he bought on his own dime was in 1987.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        Do you enjoy licking the boots of your betters or do you just not know any different?

  • avatar
    ajla

    Can’t smoke in Canada, but they do have some wicked Gentlemen’s Clubs. So equal trade I guess.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Vindictive? Many see it that way.”

    How about “ridiculous”? Assuming Canadian courts are similar to the US in terms of case law, if this was to be upheld every corporate or partnership lease is subject to everything workplace related (which would make absolutely no sense). The police “office” is the squad car, do they really want to open themselves up to municipal building compliance? Cuts both ways officers.

  • avatar
    011001100110

    Interesting story, waste of taxpayers money, Yada yada yada…,
    I just came for the RUSH reference.
    Really? no one else? Dude… Red Barchetta!

  • avatar
    rcx141

    Are these smoking enforcement types actual police or are they unemployable tinpot government bully types like TSA here in the US?

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Well done, Kraemer.

    I was born and raised in Canada so this story doesn’t surprise me. There has always been an attitude on the part of government that its function is to control people “for their own good”.

    Perhaps it has changed since I immigrated to the US nearly 50 years ago, but Ontario used to be very repressive about alcohol. There was only one beer outlet in town and wine and liquor could only be bought from a government store. When it was proposed to allow dancing in bars, a liquor control official responded, “We can’t allow that. People would go clean crazy.”

    Canada has had fully socialized (i.e. government controlled) medicine for decades. A few years ago, a patient who refused to wait his turn proposed paying for treatment out of his own pocket. The government objected saying that allowing this would give the wealthy an unfair advantage over the less well off. It took the Canadian Supreme Court to slap the government down.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    no sympathy. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve worked with who spent a significant amount of time not doing their jobs because they were out on their 18th “smoke break” of the day. A few jobs ago I worked for a Japanese auto supplier, and all of the Japanese workers (and over half of the American ones) smoked. there was always at least several people out behind the building at any given time, sucking on their cancer cocks. One day, I’m sitting down at the picnic table for a break (at 6:30 p.m., after I got in at 7:00 a.m) and the (American) GM walks by. he asked me “What are you doing?” I said I was taking a smoke break. He said “but you don’t smoke!” I said “So what?”

    end of conversation.

    • 0 avatar
      Drew8MR

      To be fair, everyone just used to smoke while they worked. The anti smoking crusade created those smoke breaks.

    • 0 avatar

      I worked with someone like that. 3-4 smoke breaks a day at 10-20 minutes per, (office building, elevators, etc) and the boss calculated she lost an hour a day compared to the non addicted employee.

      There is more to this story than an old guy smoking. How do you know it is a company car ? It probably does not have “cleaners” written across the side……

  • avatar

    Sheesh! H. sapiens, big brains. Don’t know how to use ’em.

    I have a rubber snake on my dash. With a cigarette in its mouth. I wonder if the cops will get me if I ever come to Ontario.

  • avatar
    tedward

    This isn’t about smoking, although I agree that the laws mentioned are a scary precedent, it’s about a police officer carrying out a personal vendetta using the authority of law. It is THE nightmare scenario, and ideally would result in jailtime. I doubt he’ll see any real official punishment, but a business owner in decent standing who bothers to attend town council meetings (or whatever) can absolutely make an officers life interesting. It’s a stupid fight to pick, unless this is a huge mega department like you’d find in ny or a federal equivalent department.

    When I got my wedding certificate years ago there was a lady in the meeting who apparently asked at every one why an officer her family had problems with was still employed by the town. I found out later that he was basically on permanent probation because of this, his boss had to constantly defend the guy and every local politician knew exactly who he was and what he’d done wrong that one time. That’s a career ender even if workplace protections meant firing was off the table. (Got the details from a former mayor of the town)

    To be clear, she wasn’t even an employer, just some random shmuck.

    • 0 avatar
      rcx141

      I think we established it’s not a police officer with arrest powers a badge and a gun, but a local government busybody. The UK has a lot of the same types, which make money giving out on the spot fines for littering. Only to old people or women with kids who drop a bus ticket though – they don’t risk it with the gangs of kids riding around town centres on bikes or alcoholics sitting in groups in parks shouting at people.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    I have no idea what the laws are regarding what a legit ‘company vehicle’ is in Canada, but since there seems to be no one arguing otherwise, we can assume that this owner made this arrangement legally.

    If that’s so, I agree with this overturn. I’d like to see the actual text of the law, but unless it specifically deals with vehicles, calling a car interior a workplace is a stretch.

    I would think ‘no smoking in work vehicles’ is best left as a policy enacted by the business.

    But the one that makes no logical sense and angers me a bit is the charge of ‘failing to properly supervise a workplace’. If the owner/operator of a business cannot legally be considered a proper supervisor, then who the hell is?

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Messing up the inside of a Porsche with foul smelling cigarette smoke should result in tasering.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    Though I can cite many more cases of senseless regulations in Canada, in this case the reverse happened: despite a vindictive official, the law was interpreted in a sensible manner.

    At least here the guy using his authority vindictively is a lowly bylaw enforcement officer. South of the border, he’s in charge of the whole federal government.

  • avatar
    KM From AU

    So – here’s the law in my state in Australia and I think you will find that most states here have a similar law …. comes with a fine of $300 ish dollars and a loss of demerit point

    Smoking in motor vehicles is illegal in the following circumstances:

    if a person under the age of 16 is present
    in a motor vehicle being used for business use if more than one person is in the vehicle.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Fascinating subject matter here .
    .
    Glad I quit smoking some decades ago .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    cdrmike

    Wonder how many times they said “Eh?!” in their heated conversations.

  • avatar
    Sam Hall

    The actual law here doesn’t strike me as ‘vindictive’, though perhaps a bit intrusive. That said, at least in the US the anti-smoking movement explicitly made social pressure a part of its strategy, both in its political message and in the intent of the laws it lobbied for, especially in putting smokers outside and far from the doors, never any requirement for weather protection, etc.

    The officer who charged Mr Kramer was certainly vindictive, and that kind of thing is a problem. Some years back here in the US there was a case where a nosy bystander called CPS on the parents of an 8-year-old who was walking down a public street alone. The police officer who accompanied the social worker to the home apparently made a gratuitous threat to shoot the father if he “tried anything”. I think some cops and other public officials see tough talk as a tool of the job. And maybe it is, but there have to be consequences when it crosses into threats and harassment.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Re: references in comments to this being about a “bad cop” or a vindictive public official, according to the linked article this was a process that took about a year to play out. A year. I wonder how much time and money the guy had to spend to get off? It’s not just about a bad cop – it’s more about an absurd system. This just happens to be one incident that made news because the guy had the time/resources/inclination to push back.

    • 0 avatar
      rcx141

      As Mark Steyn says, talking about the Canadian Human Rights commission that objected to some humor: “The Process Is the Punishment”

      • 0 avatar
        doublechili

        True. If it takes time and money (and stress, etc.) to avoid a ridiculous penalty, the individual has certainly not avoided punishment. If anything, it’s worse. I’m sure in this case it would have been a lot easier/cheaper/less stressful to just pay the original fines and move on. And that’s probably what happens 99+% of the time. It’s basically elected officials/civil servants engaging in extortion. Thankfully some people are willing to stick their necks out to hopefully keep these crooks in check a bit.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Cops in general seem to be slightly insane in London. My first visit there i was threatened with a jay walking ticket, despite the fact that there were no cars anywhere to interfere with. While living there later, I noticed that the cops main preoccupation seemed to be trapping people doing illicit acts in parks. It’s a very conservative, white, government job town – so I guess this latest act of lunacy shouldn’t be surprising. ( and I hate smokers / smoking )

  • avatar
    Tumbling-Dice

    “About six months earlier, an anti-smoking enforcement officer examined his place of business, discovering a cigarette butt in an ashtray in the desk drawer of his second-floor office. Kraemer claims he only smokes with the window open and fan on, with employees below being none the wiser. The ashtray’s contents landed him $700 in fines.

    “I verbally told him to get the hell out of my office and I said some very nasty things maybe, I don’t know,” he claimed. It would seem his words weren’t well received. “We’ll be back,” the officer told him.”

    Translation: Kraemer’s employees know all about it but don’t say anything because he’s a major league asshole. I’m 100% sure of that (90% sure his employees know, 110% sure this guy’s a dick, so it averages to 100).

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      That’s a wonderfully unfair assumption. You’re of course assuming that the second floor is more than private business offices.

      Despite Virginia’s rather draconian anti-smoking codes (the latest push is to make it illegal in your home and car), we’ve got a wonderful British pub in downtown Richmond, Penny Lane, that has a smoking bar. This is possible because the pub has two bars, the first floor main one is non-smoking, while the second floor bar (with it’s own separate ventilation system) is smoking. And the customers know that if you’ve got some kind of moral or physical objection to smoking, you don’t go upstairs. And if you do go upstairs, you keep you’re bitching to yourself.

      Just because someone has carved out a smoking space for themselves doesn’t automatically make them a jerk.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    “Niceness” is always a pretense that lets people be horrible human beings. The Canadians have cultivated “niceness”.

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    What the hell was this officer doing going through desk drawers anyway? Canadians are OK with this kind of Gestapo enforcement?

  • avatar
    don1967

    Orwellian laws do not scare me, or even surprise me. We should expect them from politicians, who are either lobbied by aspiring social engineers or who are aspiring social engineers themselves.

    What scares me is the willingness of the general public to go along with it; to embrace regulation as a way of expressing their dislike for things. Give them a few statistics proving that something is bad, and they’re barking like trained seals to have that thing banned.

    To those cheering for Kraemer’s arbitrary harassment on the basis that he’s a smoker/capitalist/whatever, just remember that your turn is coming.

  • avatar
    Null Set

    Beverly Hills has exactly the same law. But then, it would.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    I’m not surprised this happened in London, ON. It is the place where everybody got bent out shape about “Muslim writing” on the police cars. In reality various police vehicles have the word “police” written on them in different languages, including Arabic.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    With apologies to Bob Dylan

    Well, they’ll fine you when you’re trying to be so good
    They’ll fine you just like they said they would
    They’ll fine you when you’re trying to go home
    And they’ll fine you when you’re there all alone
    But I would not feel so all alone
    Everybody must get fined
    Well, they’ll fine you when you’re walking on the street
    They’ll fine you when you’re tryin’ to keep your seat
    They’ll fine you when you’re walkin’ on the floor
    They’ll fine you when you’re walkin’ to the door
    But I would not feel so all alone
    Everybody must get fined
    They’ll fine you when you’re at the breakfast table
    They’ll dine you when you are young and able
    They’ll fine you when you’re tryin’ to make a buck
    Then they’ll fine you and then they’ll say “good luck”
    Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone
    Everybody must get fined
    Well, they’ll fine you and say that it’s the end
    Then they’ll fine you and then they’ll come back again
    They’ll fine you when you’re riding in your car
    They’ll fine you when you’re playing your guitar
    Yes, but I would not feel so all alone
    Everybody must get fined alright
    Well, they’ll fine you when you walk all alone
    They’ll fine you when you are walking home
    They’ll fine you and then say you are brave
    They’ll fine you when you are set down in your grave
    But I would not feel so all alone
    Everybody must get fined

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