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Sep. 24, 2020 | Thursday
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Editorial: Town and police need to enforce laws on protesters
Editorial.

Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Regional Police — where are you?

The ongoing carriage protests have become more than a nuisance to residents and visitors — and there are more and more instances of residents voicing frustration.

Because it’s become more than a protest. It’s become regular harassment.

So where are our police?

Nobody, not even in protest, should be able to constantly harass and intimidate people while they work — which protesters do in NOTL regularly, without consequence.

And where are NOTL’s bylaw officers?

Visitors and residents are complaining that the noise is too loud — and it is. Town bylaws have been violated often.

Where’s the enforcement?

Instead we see the town hand out four violation notices to a business owner on Glendale Avenue, far away from everything, or ticket the people from the downtown cigar shop for smoking.

In another case, a bylaw officer was quick to give attitude to a resident who asked them to slow down.

But they won’t enforce NOTL’s noise bylaw? They won’t enforce the very same signage bylaw that the food truck owner was fined for? (Albeit he was granted an exemption from the bylaw later when council had a say about it)

What gives?

And where’s our town council in this case to stand up again for the right thing and instruct bylaw to enforce those laws?

Is the concern about lawsuits? Is this one legal expense we can’t afford? (A drop in the bucket compared to some battles the town is fighting.)

We asked Lord Mayor Betty Disero if it was OK to break bylaws just because you’re protesting an issue.

Of course, that answer was no. Everyone must still adhere to the town bylaws, whether they’re protesting or not.

We asked Disero the same question again regarding protesters. And her answer was the same — you must follow the law.

So why is the town ignoring its own advice and not enforcing laws on protesters? Its own laws, to boot.

What kind of example is that setting? You’re basically saying come to NOTL to protest, because here we have no spine to battle a group of extremists.

And that’s what these protesters are — extremists. They want every domesticated animal to be extinct, and for every person on the planet to be vegan. One has to appreciate the irony that they, who constantly try to stand behind Charter rights, would be the same ones to implement a strict vegan regime if they could.

It’s their right to believe that. But it isn’t their right to break laws, in protest or not.

Get your act together, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Regional Police. Show the people what you’re made of.

And if it’s lawsuits you’re worried about, one might suggest there’s a perfectly logical lawsuit on behalf of the carriage company, against the town and against the police for allowing continued harassment of its employees and loss of business due to lack of enforcement by existing town bylaws.

There’s two sides to the coin.

One thing’s pretty clear in almost three years of this: holding our breath isn’t going to make this issue go away.

Do something. Do it now. Stop the harassment taking place in our town.

editor@niagaranow.com

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