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Regulation of the Day 218: Bagpipes

Street musicians were recently banned from playing bagpipes in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Mayor Gregor Robertson was not happy about it. He takes great pride in his Scottish heritage, to the point of wearing a kilt to the swearing-in ceremony for his second term. So when Vancouver’s engineering department went over his head, he vowed to fight back.

Most city council members are from Robertson’s Vision Vancouver party, and they agreed to review the bagpipe ban. Just in time for the city’s Scotland Week celebration, Robertson happily announced that the ban was lifted:

"Buskers play a very important role in making Vancouver's streets lively and dynamic, particularly in our vibrant downtown. The council won't support an outright ban on specific instruments. The restriction on bagpipes has now been lifted. Staff will continue to gather noise level readings, monitor complaints and work with musicians and performers to see how these instruments can be permitted in a way that is acceptable to the public."

Say what you will about bagpipe music. Banning it is bad policy. Kudos to Mayor Robertson and Vancouver’s city council for giving buskers the opportunity to make a little bit of money and add to the city’s cultural life.