ZYTARUK: What Surrey really needs is a no-idiot bylaw

Why do people have to wreck stuff, and all the time?

Why do people have to wreck stuff?



So let it be written…


Each day, in every way, idiots are making our world a little smaller, our lives a little less livable.

Consider the case of one Christopher Lewis. I’ve never met the man, but I imagine he knows what I’m talking about. In my mind, he’s a freedom fighter.

According to a Surrey provincial court document, Mr. Lewis was taking a midnight stroll in a local park because, I guess, he likes to do that. The presiding judge, Peder Gulbransen, noted in his reasons for judgment that Mr. Lewis “believes that he should be free to walk peacefully in any public park at any time of the day or night.”

And why not, right?

The judge noted Mr. Lewis knew he was violating the city’s bylaw prohibiting people from being in a park between dusk and dawn. After police were notified about his apparently unforgivable trespass into Mother Nature a police officer was dispatched to intercept him because, apparently, there are no drive-by shootings to investigate in Surrey. Lewis told the officer he wouldn’t leave the park unless he was first issued a violation ticket. He then challenged the bylaw in court on grounds it violated his rights under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Section 7 says everyone “has a right to life, liberty and the security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

Violating Surrey’s bylaw, by the way, carries a fine of $50 to $2,000 or three months in prison. Sheesh.

Judge Gulbransen heard from the cop, and a representative from the city’s parks and recreation department, that many “unlawful activities” happen in parks at night — trash dumping, loud drinking parties, bonfires, vandalism, drug dealing…

So the bylaw, designed to keep everyone out at night, be they a Hitler or a Mother Theresa, theoretically serves to eliminate the costly need for authorities to actually have to investigate nocturnal trouble making in local parks by finding everyone guilty of a ticketable offence.

Sadly, Mr. Lewis’s challenge did not stand up in court. Judge Gulbransen noted the city holds its parks in trust for local residents and found its bylaw to be a “reasonable law” enacted within the city’s power to regulate land under its jurisdiction. The judge declared it “unrealistic to expect the City of Surrey to spend relatively large sums of money to provide resources to monitor in detail what goes on at parks at night.”

Whether you agree with the judge or not is irrelevant. What’s really at issue here is that this bylaw exists, and a guy can’t enjoy the stars and a peaceful breath of fresh air in a Surrey park at night, and things like this go to court, because of one thing, and one thing only: Idiots.

That is, trash dumpers, loud drinking partiers, bonfire-lighters, vandals and drug dealers.

Can’t enjoy a beer on the beach. Why? Idiots. Can’t even open liquor in public places. That’s because, under certain conditions, idiots have been known to flip cars, smash store windows and beat up other people because, say, a hockey game doesn’t go their way.

Car insurance premiums keep going up thanks to the thieves and bandits who cheat their way through the system by making bogus claims (What’s that? That wasn’t me bungee-jumping, Mr. ICBC adjuster, that was my twin. My back really is broken, swear to Christ).

Some day, I imagine, beer service at our local arenas will probably also come to an end thanks to idiots like the three clowns my sons and I shared a row with at the recent Black Sabbath concert.

Pea-brains drinking until their pea-sized bladders are bursting, and then it’s up, down, up, down. Buying beer, peeing beer, buying beer, peeing beer. Drive other people sitting in the same row nuts!

Why do people have to wreck stuff?

It’s really too bad they can’t make a law making it illegal to be an idiot.

Then reasonable people everywhere could finally breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe even in a Surrey park, after dark.


So let it be done.

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