Unjust municipal bylaws cause for Charter of Rights questions

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by admin on January 27, 2011

The Editor,

All this recent discussion about landowner’s rights made me realize that after owning a home in Wakefield, Quebec for many years, I was virtually clueless about the bylaws that were in place.

After a thorough review of the Municipality of La Pêche’s bylaws that are readily available on both their and the MRC websites, I felt compelled to share some of

this new-found wisdom with my community.

According to Bylaw No. 3.6, we are only permitted to honk our car horns in emergency situations. I guess I will stop honking to say hello to friends whom I see on the street. Say goodbye to the speakers on your patio, they contravene No. 3.4.

Beware if you have an argument with someone in your own home. This breaches Bylaw No. 5.3. Even if your property is on the water, whatever you do, do not step a toe in it between 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., or you could be charged with violating No. 6.2.

If you decide to be responsible, and walk to the village to enjoy a night of drinking with friends, do not make your way back home via the Wakefield covered bridge, or you face being charged with violating Bylaw No. 6.2. This actually happened to a group of friends last summer.

However, the real eye-opener for me was No. 5.11, which states, “No one is permitted to be on public or private property without reasonable and just cause.” Although a list of definitions is included with the bylaws, I was unable to find reasonable and just cause described anywhere.

So I kindly ask the municipality – or the MRC – to define reasonable and just cause, and to explain how many of the bylaws currently in place negate our Charter of Rights to freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression – both on publicly- and privately-owned land.

Karen DiNino

Wakefield, Quebec