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Bylaw debate taken to personal level

Posted on March 25, 2015 by Taber Times

To say we are experiencing a bit of a dust-up in our community would be an understatement.

This family feud over the Community Standards Bylaw is becoming reminiscent of an episode of the old Jerry Springer show. I am all for rigorous and passionate debate but somewhere along the line, the debate has become quite septic.

After much reading, discussing with various parties and listening to others it seems we have passed a bylaw that has some serious flaws. The finger pointing has been fast and furious, and while we have the blame well spread, nothing has been resolved. The negative publicity is NOT the issue. Very embarrassing, yes, but not the issue.

The issue is that by all credible accounts the bylaw is seriously flawed, and these flaws make it unenforceable and in some cases it could contravene the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is not so much a critique of the intention of the bylaw as much as it is the mechanics of how it is written.

It is my understanding that many of these issues can be corrected relatively easily with the assistance of a proficient lawyer. I am concerned, however, that with the tone of the public dialogue at this juncture it may be a formidable challenge to achieve a prompt and reasonable solution.

Conflict, when stewarded well, can be tremendously beneficial, leading to greater innovation, efficiency and understanding – all leading towards a healthier, better functioning community.

However, conflict poorly stewarded jumps the rail of the issue and spills into personal attacks, tit-for-tat pettiness, and maligning the character and intentions of the other.

The fruit of this kind of conflict is division, mistrust, anger and bitterness. Often this kind of conflict is rooted in an unhealthy need to “win” and to save face, even at the expense of the well-being of the wider community.

I’m sure most have our community’s best interest at heart; we just disagree on the wording and the details of how that might look. That said, we must dismantle the battle lines, lay aside the proverbial sticks and stones, forgive each other and collaborate to resolve the issue at hand in a healthy way.

This will require community leadership to lead in the truest, most positive sense.

Taber is a good place to live, do business, and raise a family. As a community, we possess a rich capacity for goodwill, generosity, and resiliency.

Like all communities, we have our issues and conflicts but let’s not forget, as a community we win and lose together, not at the expense of the other.

This is the only way healthy community can be sustained and grow. We need to find a healthy way through this current challenge, together.

A positive next step would be to rescind the Community Standards Bylaw in its current form.

To work with all the stakeholders – citizens, police, and lawyers – to create a Community Standards Bylaw that will be respected, that will be enforceable, and that will stand up to judicial scrutiny.

A bylaw that addresses the concerns of the community and provides the TPS with an effective tool to continue to serve our community with excellence and integrity.


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