Last year, some three million Canadians weathered fierce snowstorms or long, grueling drives or paid hundreds of dollars to fly to Florida. We spent our hard-earned money in Florida restaurants and Florida hotels and Florida theme parks and, some of us, in Florida tiki bars.
We make up, by quite a large bit, the largest group of visitors to The Sunshine State. So what do we get in return? We get told we’re supposed to pay $25 for an International Driving Permit for the privilege of driving in the state that we keep in business.
Because, you know, there’s nothing more dangerous than a Canadian driving along I-75 or Biscayne Blvd.
As outlined in today’s Star by reporter Katie Daubs, the rule is supposed to help Florida law enforcement folks interpret foreign licenses. But it means Canadians and Chileans and Kiwis and Germans will have to apply for an international permit. In our case, that means a passport picture and $25 at the local Canadian Automobile Association office.
Tourism types are apologizing for the inconvenience, as well they should. And there’s talk that the law might be changed by July 1, at least for folks, get this, with English-language licenses.
What about Quebeckers? Would an exemption cover them or just folks from the rest of Canada? What about Aussies? They have English licenses but they certainly don’t speak the language. Ba-da-boom.
We can get angry but I think it makes perfect sense for Florida to take action like this. I mean, people with licenses from Brazil and Mexico and Canada and Australia and Britain are wreaking HAVOC on Florida roads. You think unemployment and immigration issues and, oh, I don’t know, gun control are important? You silly, silly people. Those problems absolutey PALE in comparison with the carnage left behind in Clearwater and Kissimmee by rampaging hooligans from Halifax, with their fancy Nova Scotia licenses that no Florida cop could possibly understand.
So it’s no wonder the state had to do something.
(Hey, I was just driving about in Florida last month with an Ontario license. I guess that makes me something of a criminal. Yeah, just call me James Dean, rebel without an IDP).
This could be a windfall for the state. Cops could just park outside the Blue Jays spring training complex and the stadium in Dunedin and hand out tickets to all those law-breaking Canadians. Think of the revenue!
Honestly, some days I just shake my head at the insanity around us. For a state so dependent on tourism, this is unbelievably stupid.
So here’s an idea. How about the Florida governor send out a note of common sense and tell police in the state to ignore this idiotic law until saner heads prevail.JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, is offering a Transat deal for a pub and folk music trip to fabulous Ireland for $2,463, including $465 in taxes. Here are the details:
BONUS: $150 Future Travel Voucher per person
BONUS: Extend your flight for up to 30 days at no extra charge and return from anywhere Transat flies in Europe (accommodations for extension extra)
9-day/7-night Irish Pub & Folk Tour with visits to Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, Kilarney, Westport and more
Includes return airfare from Toronto to Dublin on Air Transat and transfers to/from airport to hotel
7 nights’ accommodation in 4-star hotels
Meals throughout your tour (as outlined in itinerary below)
Includes professionally guided tours of Ireland via air conditioned Deluxe Motorcoach, and all admission fees as per itinerary
Enjoy the traditional Irish pub life with tours, samplings and shows
Take advantage of your pockets of free time to explore Ireland at your own pace while still enjoying the services of a local guide in Dublin
Tour includes entry into popular Irish attractions like the Blarney Castle, Guinness Storehouse and more
Valid for travel on June 7, 2013 departure
Single: $2,498 per person, plus tax
Double: $2,098 per person, plus tax