By Mike Archer. With the announcement this week that the Pivot Legal Society intends to sue the City of Abbotsford over its ultra vires ‘Anti Harm Reduction Bylaw’ the trail of lawsuits and civil liberties complaints behind Darryl Plecas and Simon Gibson grew longer.
Plecas, when he was but a lowly community college teacher, convinced Lower Mainland police and city councils it would be OK to circumvent the criminal code, the Charter of Rights, the Canadian Constitution, the Municipal Act and who knows what other laws by simply putting an electrical inspector in front of the cops when they entered private property illegally and without warrants.
Whichever one of his own criminology courses Darryl forgot to take, he seems to have skipped the part where in Canada the police require a warrant before they can enter someone’s home without consent.
The City of Surrey had to re-write their illegal bylaws after a human rights complaint and the District of Mission, which had the gall to bill homeowners $5,200 for the pleasure of the warrantless searches, is facing a class action suit thanks to Darryl’s advice.
Now Simon Gibson’s defence of the ultra vires Anti Harm Reduction Bylaw, whereby the City of Abbotsford has stepped into several jurisdictions where it does not belong by making it illegal to use any property in Abbotsford to dispense clean needles to addicts has caused the City to have to defend a law suit from the Pivot Legal Society.
The Canada Health Act entitles every Canadian to life saving health care regardless of what city they live in.
Seems some people are sticklers when it comes to obeying the law and neither the City of Abbotsford, Simon Gibson nor Darryl Plecas have demonstrated they have the same views on the matter.
Between them Plecas and Gibson will have cost the municipalities of the Lower Mainland thousands of dollars in legal costs as a result of their inability to understand or abide by the law.
It is a terribly important matter. When those we trust to pass laws, bylaws, rules and regulations which govern the way we live don’t either understand how the law works; what they are and are not allowed to do in their political roles; and are either unwilling or unable to understand the importance of the basic premise that they, perhaps above all others, need to obey the law, we are in serious jeopardy.
Former Mayor George Peary dealt with accusations his deal with the Calgary Flames and the owners of the Abbotsford Heat broke the law by challenging the citizens of Abbotsford to sue him.
Obeying the law seems to be something which a growing number of our local political class either don’t realize they must do or don’t care.
We’ve been paying the financial costs of George Peary’s deal for several years. We are now beginning to pay the financial costs of Plecas’ and Gibson’s decisions in a mounting number of municipal law suits. The additional costs, borne by the other victims of the war on drugs – the addicts and the users of drugs – are only now coming into clearer focus.
The fact that Abbotsford is the last community in the country to be facing up to these realities is not an indication that we are brighter, more progressive or better educated than the rest of the country. It is an indication we have a singular inability to take care of our city. It also indicates a singular disregard for the lives of the other victims of the war on drugs – the users and the addicts.
Either way we are a very cruel and unforgiving community for those who have fallen victim to the drug war. They appear to be less than acceptable members of our community of character.
High rates of teen drug use.
High rates of Hep C.
High rates of HIV.
Stagnant economic growth.
Little or no opportunities for our young people.
These are the harsh realities of what life is about in Abbotsford for far too many people who are also paying the highest taxes, water rates and costs of municipal services anywhere in the Lower Mainland.
Those who have the privilege of running businesses which either benefit directly from tax dollars or from membership in the power structure may not see it from their positions of privilege, but Abbotsford is rotting from the bottom up.
Rather than smiling and patting each other on the back, shouldn’t our community leaders be asking themselves what is going wrong?