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  • Writer's pictureThe Low Down

Low’s push-back mentality protects constituents

On Aug. 7, every councillor of Low’s municipality voted against the MRC Vallée-de-la-Gatineau bylaw, which designates buildings built prior to 1940 (among other criteria) as “heritage”. The MRC’s Cultural Heritage Act attributes specifically chosen buildings with “heritage value,” saying it intends to protect the architectural and urban unity of an area.

What the Act really does is inhibit an owner’s free exercise of property rights by putting extra conditions on what an owner can or cannot do. The Act also circumvents a municipality’s ability to direct an owner to demolish a building, which has become, among other things, dangerous to the security of the population.

The primary role of any government, its modus operandi, is to keep the peace. For municipalities specifically, this takes form through the proper maintenance critical infrastructure that its constituents can rely on. For example, good roads with properly functioning water systems keep taxpayers away from harm by minimizing potential dangers and accidents.

In essence, every municipality seeks to minimize chaos by keeping the peace.

“Keeping the peace” can also take the form of shielding constituents from government overreach that come from policies enacted at higher levels and which indirectly attack people’s free exercise of their rights. Low’s council, by pushing back against the application of the MRC’s Cultural Heritage Act, sent a clear message to those higher instances, which I applaud unapologetically and loudly.

More actions like these are required and I invite Low’s council to use this precedent as a launch pad going forward. Because, as time goes by and as the fallout of the last three years comes to affect everyone, more government overreach can be expected.

I fundamentally believe that it will be imperative for small municipalities such as Low to shift its focus by articulating and exhibiting a “push-back mind-set” in order to protect its citizens.

For now, and in preparation for this shift, the first point of order for every councillor is to deploy every effort in keeping taxes low. Because the lower the taxes, the freer people are.

Patrick Beaudry is a resident of Low.


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