Wednesday 11 March 2015

Working in Ottawa today --And no Spitting

Good morning folks,

I will be working on Ottawa today.

It's outrageous, it's egregious, it's preposterous!  Hi kids, Jackie Chiles could not make it so I am sitting in.

Ever been to Taber, Alberta?  Small town of perhaps 75 or 8000 people (20 times the size of my favorite employer) in Southern Alberta, 30 miles east of Lethbridge.  It is either the Corn Capital or the Sugar Beet Capital, I don't recall which, but both sound right.

I once lived about 30 miles past there further east in an even smaller town, actually a hamlet, Burdett.  I farmed potatoes and wheat.  Was on the fire department too.  And the baseball team. Yep.  Not really germane to the topic, but adds some depth to the narrative and the many onion layers of me, yes?

The town of Taber has been busy passing laws lately.  The latest laws, no spitting (I like that one) no yelling, no swearing, but wait there's more..  curfews! Yay.  

That's right kids, in Taber the streets will be rolled up at 11 PM, means that if your summer job is at the drive in, your folks will need to come pick you up.

Wait, there is still more.  The local police will now have the authority to force any crowd of 3 or more persons (yes 3) to disperse.  Now I get it, when you have a small population, 3 people getting together may be enough to overthrow and seize control of the town hall, disrupt law and order, and result in the playing of rock and roll.

But that also means that any gathering of persons to protest bad laws and bad gov't can also be dispersed by the police.  Local employers could also seek police assistance in breaking union meetings, and established churches could stop the formation of apposing faiths.

Oh yes.  Making a movement that annoys is also now illegal.  "No person shall make or cause or allow to be made or continued any noise which disturbs or annoys a person, including any loud outcry, clamour, shouting, movement, music or activity"

Clamour?  Further evidence that the good townspeople of Taber resurrected a law from the 1950s.

Now I am generally annoyed by all persons: teenagers, poets, musicians, steam punks, magicians, street performers, pedestrians that stop to talk in intersections, people with tattoos on their foreheads, slow drivers, joggers, power walkers, people wearing large headphones, people wearing Che Guevara tshirts, those talking on cell phones, clowns, people talking to themselves, anyone wearing Spandex, anyone over 7 with bells on their boots, the list is longer, but it's a short flight.

Might I be able to invoke this law should I find myself in Taber?  Did you notice that you will be in violation of the law should YOU allow the street poet to continue to annoy ME.  The entire town is now on notice.  There is a 30 foot annoyance free zone around me, govern yourself accordingly.

The good mayor of Taber, Henk De Velieger, explained, "it's like every other tool, you can use it and you can abuse it.  A hammer I can use to pound a nail or it can kick in your brains."

Uh, wow Uncle Daniel, violence much?

Yeah, despite the rather screwed up sentence structure and a baffling mixed metaphor he recognized that it can kick in your brains and it sounded like he might be the one on the end of the handle.

The only thing worse than bad laws is a population that sits idly by while they are passed, enforced and kept on the books.

Taberites, Taberians --what ever they call themselves need to wake up, read the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and repeal these dumb laws.  Except the spitting one.  Failing that, they need Kevin Bacon.

Have a great day.

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