All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Sunday, February 25th, 2024

Lawed and ByLawed to Death

It’s always a good idea to occasionally take a deep breath and acknowledge that Canada is a great place to live in. And Ontario? Not too bad. And The County? Absolutely terrific.
The County is a Flagship for the wonderful rural economies that built this country. We proudly look after our own. We built our own economy ­ one small business at a time. And, yes, we have our own way of doing things.
The main thing that makes this a great place to live is our inherent sense of community, and our natural common sense in dealing with the land and our way of life. This applies to the seven-generation families as well as the ‘newcomers’ (who arrived sometime after 1799).
The freedom to enjoy life here is a given. But I’m beginning to think we take it too much for granted.
Freedom in the County, like freedom anywhere in the world, is always in danger. Freedom does not exist on its own. It is a property, created by the people who fight for it.
I believe the County is in Great Danger. We still live our own lives as a community but ­ while we’re enjoying that ­ large bureaucratic machines are moving in all around us.
We are suffering from Bureaucratic Abuse. Like spousal abuse and child abuse, we all see it going on, but nobody talks about it. We just draw the blinds.
We can see it coming our way. Yet we do nothing. Why? Because we get used to things.
We go, “Well that’s the way it is.”
But it’s not the way it needs to be.
We are now so fat with bureaucracy ­ and the rules and regulations that spill out of it daily ­ that we can no longer function as a society.
Check it out, if you’re not already one of the many people who are angry and frustrated with trying to get their phone line fixed, or getting a passport, or proving that they already paid the bill to keep their electricity turned on.
You’ve all been there, at one time or another. You’ve dealt with a bureaucratic system ­ government or corporate ­ that is so blazingly stupid and completely robotic that you wished you had never placed a call for help in the first place.
This, I think, is part of the plan. After four months of trying to solve your problem through 24-hour Support Lines, they hope you just give up and go away.
A quick example: I needed to order $2500 worth of toner for my high-quality laser printer. After two phone messages, several e-mails and four weeks passing, I received not a single reply.
At a hardware store, the constantly out-of-stock item, I was told, “will be in on Tuesday.” After three visits, I just said, “No, it won’t” and left.
Service is shot in Canada. And, with manufacturing jobs in a tumble ­ being outsourced to other countries ­ service is about the only thing we have left to sell.
Here in the County, the situation is even worse.
After years of having the Outside World pass us by on the 401, we are now On The Map.
So now we’re the target of legislation which was largely directed at the Big City market. And it’s an infectious bureaucratic disease, which has spread through all levels of government until, instead of hearing “Would you like fries with that?” you will hear, “Have you conformed to the rules and regulations for ordering a Big Mac? We will need a statement of cholesterol count from your doctor, and a waiver form will be available at the drive-thru window.”
Look around you, and listen to the stories you and your friends have to tell. I have heard about unbridled law and bylaw enforcement, and it makes you want to build a bomb shelter to hide in.
The fire regulation on the Regent was just a start. And who paid the price? We did, through community support. And the efforts of individuals who stepped forward and put their time and money on the line.
Mount Tabor was next. Who paid? Right again.
Damn good thing we can rally behind saving these local treasures. Why did we need to do it? Because of laws and more laws, and bylaws upon bylaws ­all created to ‘protect’ us from things which have never actually happened here in the County.
Painful as it was to once again save Mt. Tabor and Regent, the reach has now gone well beyond that.
What about private businesses? Yes, they’re getting hit too, with bylaws they don’t even know exist. And who pays that bill? Them.
As promised, I’ll cite some cases I’ve heard. Keep in mind that these are apocryphal stories, and I have not verified their validity. If I did, I would not have time to write columns and put out magazines.
€    One man was repairing the concrete steps to his house. He was spotted by a County Bylaw officer and was told he needed a building permit before completing the repair.
€ MPAC told one couple their garage was not on their property, though it had been built 100 years ago, and was purchased along with the house five years ago. Having been shown the deed, they deferred, but increased their property assessment anyway, because the couple had a home-based business.
€  Police recently set up a spot check to fine pickup owners who had not removed their tow-ball from the back of the truck. I didn’t even know this was a law, but it apparently carries a $140 fine.
€  The fire marshall targeted retirement homes in the area, often demanding several thousand dollars of changes. (In one case, over $10,000.) According to some owners, the changes will actually impede their ability to clear senior residents from the building safely in an emergency. Changes are to be made at the owners’ expense.
€ A group known as Re:Sound has visited local businesses to charge them a fee if the owners are playing CDs. They claim the music is for the ‘entertainment’ of customers and, as such, royalties must be paid to artists and record companies. The annual fee is calculated on the floor area and the number of days a business is open each year, regardless of whether they are playing CD music or not.
Believe it or not, this is a federal government agency, who can demand an audit of your books ­ at your expense ­ if they feel the proper amount has not been paid. This applies to ‘background music’ in retail stores, and the songs you dance to at aerobics classes and dance studios.
There will be more on this ­ County people are gathering to push this back into a territory that might possibly be called ‘sanity’.
These tiny little things add together ­ one upon another ­ to strangle the remaining life out of already-struggling businesses here in the County.
The rules border on the ridiculous ­ and they grow in number every single day. God won’t help us. The government won’t, because they’re causing it.
It’s up to us. Don’t be an apologetic, accepting Canadian. Fight it, or there won’t be a Canada, Ontario or County worth fighting for.

Filed Under: Steve Campbell

About the Author:

RSSComments (14)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Robert says:

    Hey Steve take your head out of your ASS its the law that gives you the fredom of speach.

  2. Ernest Horvath says:

    I am surprised at you all.
    Every law and regulation creates jobs in the public sector.
    It starts with the bylaw and regulation , for which you then need an entire government agency to plan , oversee and enforce it.
    You need offices , the boss who usually makes 10x times the sunshine list wages , who then oversees people that also make sunshine list wages to oversee , regulate and police this regulation. Consultants , lawyers , public relations , accountants , scientists , website developers , nonprofits to educate you on the bylaw or regulation , then an entire workforce to police it.
    An entire industry built on nothing.
    Yet it creates jobs with your tax dollars and the money they earn enforcing the regulation..again your money.
    So are you standing in the way of job creation in these troubled times?..If so shame on you.
    And think of the nonprofits you subsidize that line up at the trough to educate you.
    They fill avoid as well because they know you are not intelligent enough to survive without them.
    You see them everywhere
    ” To raise awareness of …..? ”
    ” For a good cause………..? ”

    Now stop being so selfish and embrace the job creation.

    Great posts folks ..cheers.

  3. Ken says:

    The Re:Sound tariffs will probably be the final nail in the coffin for some places.

  4. Steve says:

    Good responses on the Fire Marshall issue …I still say that the Letter of the Law doesn’t meet everyone’s Best Plan for safety, and I really don’t like the short periods of time to get problems fixed up. Nobody wants an unexpected $10,000 expense dropped on them.

    I really need to reply to Steve B.

    I’ve got to disagree on this one. Re:Sound has been authorized by the federal government (though the law may not be enacted until August of this year) to issue licences and send out invoices for their fees, and is also being given the power to audit the records of Canadian businesses.

    All of the details – and I’ve now read over 100 pages on this, and I’m still not finished with the research – can be found on the Government of Canada website.

    The posting in the Canada Gazette Vol. 145, No. 23, June 4, 2011 outlines all of the powers the Copyright Board of Canada is issuing to Re:Sound.

    This includes invoicing BACK TO 1993 WITH INTEREST to any business they happen to target. They are adding interest to invoices that were never even issued, which the targeted businesses couldn’t have paid if they wanted to -because they don’t exist. PLUS, they seem to be issuing invoices now, even though the Canada Gazette posting of June 4 allows 30 days before the proposed law is presented before the House of Commons for approval.

    I have a copy of an invoice already issued to a Bloomfield business.

    If this is not a government agency, I don’t know what is.

    In this large and unwieldy document, which will become part of Copyright Law, it seems to me that Re:Sound is being granted more authority than SOCAN, who is also responsible for collecting royalties rightly due to musicians and composers.

    Re:Sound notes that SOCAN and Re:Sound are totally separate entities, so fees need to be paid to both.

    Something is going horribly wrong here, and we only have a matter of days to stop it from becoming law. Everyone wants artists to be paid fairly – I’m a guitar player myself – but NOTHING I’ve read so far convinces me that the money generated will go to the artists responsible for the music.

    If you have clarification on any of this, I would like to hear it, as I am preparing a presentation to MP Daryl Kramp on this subject.


  5. jason says:

    I wish there could be a happy medium between bylaws that protect and quality of life. I’m all for saving life but many of the safety laws seem to be there to compensate for the few morons who don’t have any common sense. If people were more educated we could have fun knowing what the dangers of our actions were, and how to avoid them. Although, come to think of it outlawing moronism would be good.

  6. Steve B says:

    Ooops, I should have signed my Re:Sound comment as Steve B to avoid confusion.

  7. Robert says:

    The Ontario Fire Code is meant to protect the people of Ontario. Whether you’re young or old we all need protection.The Fire code was created for a reason and it’s sad to say behind every code there must have been a loss of life or some one seriously hurt. I would like everybody to go to the Ontario Fire Marshall web site and look at the loss of life because of Fire Code violations i.e NO WORKING SMOKE ALARMS ,Damaged fire separations, no emergency lighting, no exit signs and the list goes on. It’s about the protection of the people not the property. Property can be replaced, human life can’t be.

  8. Steve says:

    Just a comment on one detail. Re:Sound is not a government agency.
    Their website details their mandate and legal position in representing the interests of artists who’s music is being used as entertainment in a commercial environment.

  9. Steve says:

    Thanks Gary and Chris .. It looks like I was sandbagged on the tow ball thing.
    I had a fairly reliable source, who cited the date and location of the road check, and the fine amount. The fine amount was confirmed by a retired professional truck driver.
    My apologies to the OPP, and I don’t have a tow ball on my truck, so please don’t hurt me.

  10. Chris Willson says:

    Maybe they meant those ‘bull balls’ some pickups have hanging back there. 😉

  11. Gary Mooney says:

    I called the OPP detachment re any requirement to remove the tow-ball / trailer hitch from vehicles. The officer laughed as he told me that there is no such requirement. He said that they have been getting quite a few calls.

  12. Chris Willson says:

    re: “Police recently set up a spot check to fine pickup owners who had not removed their tow-ball from the back of the truck. I didn’t even know this was a law, but it apparently carries a $140 fine.”

    Holy cow, REALLY?????? Just for trucks, or cars too?? I couldn’t find anything in the Highway Traffic Act on this. Why aren’t they out there catching bad guys? Maybe we don’t have any in the County 😉

  13. Lockie says:

    Potentially big additional cost for ‘not for profits’ like Regent Theatre, events, etc. All live performers (Steve?) should be paying. Bars with a live band or disc jockey.
    Ouch!! Playing Ethiopian music in 10,000 Villages,…pay. Playing Puntamaya,….pay.

  14. jason says:

    Bureaucracy and red tape killed Rome… much for learning from history. KISS, Keep it Simple Stupid!

OPP reports
lottery winners
Elizabeth Crombie Janice-Lewandoski
Home Hardware Picton Sharon Armitage

© Copyright Prince Edward County News 2024 • All rights reserved.