Westward Independent

North Cowichan Offers Moonlighting As A Bylaw Enforcement Officer

by Joseph Enslow
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Has North Cowichan been taking cues from the Federal playbook, or has George Orwell decided to make a splash in our quaint little town?

In an unexpected plot twist that might have the famed dystopian author nodding in grim acknowledgment, it seems our municipal council is flirting with a narrative that’s eerily reminiscent of “1984.”

Under the veil of BYLAW NO. 3948, it appears that virtually any employee clocked in under the municipal payroll could moonlight as a bylaw enforcement officer. From the Business Licence Inspector, who now presumably inspects more than just business licenses, to the seemingly innocuous Municipal Forester—because, of course, those trees need enforcing too—the bylaw casts a wide net.

t’s a smorgasbord of enforcement power, complete with the right to use force and impose fines up to $50,000 for those daring to obstruct the mighty arm of the law.

The bylaw generously extends the olive branch of enforcement to “any person acting in any capacity on behalf of the District for the purpose of enforcement of one or more of its bylaws.” That’s right, if you’re acting on behalf of the District and can arguably claim to be enforcing a bylaw, congratulations—you’ve just been promoted.

In this newfound utopia (or dystopia, depending on your view), we’ve unwittingly turned the pages of our local governance to a chapter that might as well have been drafted by Orwell himself. With a nod to Big Brother, we’re setting the stage for a local government that operates with a zeal for control that would make even the most stoic of bureaucrats blush.

It seems that the corridors of power, both provincial and federal, have morphed into laboratories for a course titled “Governance with a Heavy Hand: Advanced Studies.” Our local council, acting as zealous acolytes, has voraciously absorbed the curriculum. The legislative landscape has become a tapestry of constraint, with federal initiatives like C-11 aiming to corral online content, Bill 18 shadowing our health information with its opaque presence, and C-63 subtly reshaping our financial interactions. Meanwhile, Bill S-210 looms, wielding the guise of protection to mandate age verification on websites, potentially ensnaring a swath of content under its broad definitions—from art and literature to sexual health information—thus igniting privacy and security alarms. Each piece of legislation, sliding almost unnoticed past public scrutiny, chips away at another fragment of our freedoms and privacies, sketching a blueprint that might well have been lifted from the pages of an Orwellian manuscript.

Where does this lead us? Down the totalitarian tiptoe, a dance where small, seemingly benign bills like BYLAW NO. 3948 are passed under the radar, away from the prying eyes of the very citizens they govern. Each step, each new bill, pushes us ever so slightly towards a future where government control permeates every aspect of our lives.

As we close this chapter, one can’t help but suggest that it’s time for citizens to arm themselves—not with weapons, but with knowledge and vigilance. Government oversight is no longer just a duty but a necessity, as small bills with big implications are passed in the shadowy corners of council meetings. In the end, it’s not just about a single bylaw or bill; it’s about ensuring that our journey towards safety and order doesn’t lead us down a path where freedom becomes the price we pay.

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