Business hours bylaw revisited

In a little less than two years, we will mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of a historical document, Magna Carta, one of the most

In a little less than two years, we will mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of a historical document, Magna Carta, one of the most important milestones in the political evolution of the mankind.

Forced on King John in 1215, the then ruler of England, to be signed and be abided by all the future holders of the throne, the importance of this document stems from the admittance on the part of the king that governance is not a function of divine ordinance coming from the heavens, but a process where subjects do have a say about how they are governed.

This was the beginning of a long journey, which, through centuries of war, internecine conflict, reform and revolution, brought us to the present, when we elect representatives with the premise that their collective wisdom will provide for the establishment of ground rules on how we will be governed as citizens.

(Whether this system is properly working is an entirely different debate.)

In this method of representative democracy, elected representatives legislate, the executive arm of the establishment implements the legislation and the judiciary watches over both the legislators and executive power to make sure that they are doing their jobs properly.

Needless to say, all this governance business is designed to be serving the public good.

Now, when we speak of public good, the understanding is that the welfare of the community/society comes before the interests of the individuals making up that populace. And this, by definition, should also include restriction of some freedoms when general public’s overall convenience is concerned.

Let’s take, for example, the legislation enforcing the use of seatbelts in motor vehicles, which was passed in the province in 1987. Today, very few people believe that particular legislation was not necessary. But when it was first introduced, people of the province did not like it; according to a newspaper report from 2007, close to 20 per cent of Alberta drivers were still refusing to buckle up 20 years after the adoption of the law.

Why was the law introduced? First and foremost to reduce the loss of life by restraining individuals –forcing them to act against their will by shaping their behavior; and then for reducing the public expenditure that had to be allocated to handling the aftermath of serious car crashes.

Take also the more recent distracted driving law: Many people accused legislators for interfering with their freedom, and some even accused the lawmakers of insulting the intelligence of drivers, claiming that using cell phones while driving was nothing to be concerned about.

At least my personal experience is different: The worst collision I had to cover as a journalist happened when a driver, texting her affection to her partner while driving at about 100 km. an hour on the highway, collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle, losing her life instantly on the spot.

Coming to our own Business Hours Bylaw of Ponoka, it is clearly aimed at ensuring a more secure environment for the members of the community, and it is, without a doubt, detrimental to the interests of the liquor retail businesses. The question is whose interests come first.

If this bylaw has prevented a single case of domestic violence, one incident of drunk driving or vandalism, it should be considered as having served its purpose.

It is conventional wisdom that most of the liquor buying after 10 p.m. is probably compulsive behavior and our much debated bylaw may be even good for people who might endanger themselves, just like in the case of seat belt and distracted driving legislation.

 

Just Posted

Supporters rally for Jason Kenney as UCP leader stops in Red Deer

Kenney promises equalization reform, stopping ‘Trudeau-Notley’ payroll hike, trade, economic mobility

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Rimbey RCMP need help identifying vandals

Plus, GPS in stolen vehicle helps locate it and the suspect in Red Deer

Ponoka Chamber to host election forum

All-candidates forum for Lacombe-Ponoka set for March 28 at the Ponoka Legion

Ponoka County $3.6 million surplus used to prepare for future

An unexpected grant carryover along with operational savings in 2018 has provided… Continue reading

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Most Read