From the Editor
As soon as Dalton figures out how his corporate buddies can make money by allowing people to hang out the laundry he will lift the ban. Until then keep using those dryers. If stories like this weren’t so outrageous they would make me laugh. Oct 1oth send McGuinty his pink slip. I was a Liberal until Uncle Dalton came along. We’ve had some lame premiers but this guy takes the cake.
It’s a simple, functional part of the solution to Canada’s energy addiction: allowing people to hang their sheets, T-shirts and undies outside to dry.
So why, then, is the simple, time-tested concept of the clothesline conjuring such cross-country controversy?
Sure, the sight of a hefty neighbour’s boxers fluttering in the breeze might turn some stomachs – indeed, that’s the main reason some communities draw the line at air-dried laundry.
In Ontario, however, a growing number of environmentalists and municipal politicians are calling on the government to override local clothesline bans – something it could do with the stroke of a pen.
Many are now wondering why the province appears to be dragging its heels on measures that would allow people to harness free solar and wind energy by hanging their clothes out to dry.
This is not a draconian measure,” Stewart said. “It’s not like laundry is a threat to the morals of our youth. All it’s saying is people are allowed to use a clothesline.” The Liberals passed an energy conservation leadership law shortly after their election in 2003 that included a clause that allows the province to abolish local bans on clotheslines imposed by developers through sale agreements and residential associations.
But the Liberals have never taken advantage of the clause, meaning it remains against the law in some aesthetically-minded communities to let unmentionables flap immodestly in the breeze.
It doesn’t make sense at a time when everyone is being urged to change their habits to cut greenhouse gas emissions and conserve energy during a hot summer, Stewart said.
“It really is very silly,” he said. “This isn’t a huge thing but it’s incredibly easy to do. It’s not like they need a mandate from the electorate to do this. They could do it tomorrow.”
Environment Minister Laurel Broten would only say Wednesday that lifting a ban on clotheslines doesn’t fall under her jurisdiction.
Phyllis Morris is at the forefront of the “right to dry” movement in Ontario. The mayor of Aurora, a suburban city just north of Toronto, has been on talk shows across the country lobbying for the right to “free the sheets.” Ironically, Morris recently had a Liberal government pamphlet delivered to her door urging her to do a number of things to help the environment – including air-drying clothes.
“I wonder what they’re waiting for,” Morris said about lifting the ban.
“We see it as a freedom of choice issue. I’m not saying people should hang their laundry outside – I’m saying shouldn’t they be able to if they want to?”
“Most people who would choose to do the environmentally sound thing would also be probably concerned for their neighbours,” she said.
“If their neighbours are having a barbecue, get your laundry in before 5 o’clock when they sit down to eat supper. That’s just being a good neighbour.”
“There is much greater public awareness that wasting energy is bad for our future. Clotheslines will soon have social cache as people who do the right thing . . . and the law will hurry along to catch up.” New Democrat Paul Ferreira said by lagging behind public consciousness, the Liberals are leaving green-minded residents “out to dry.”
“When we talk about harnessing wind power and solar power to meet our daily needs, here’s a classic example of how to do it.”