City bylaws are misleading

(Photo by Nick Lachance)

While it often takes a significant event for people to tolerate a great injustice, it rarely takes any effort for people to tolerate a little injustice.

The fact is, there are many laws in our day to day lives that don’t seem majorly oppressive like what people in communist regimes would have to face, but are nonetheless, utterly unjust.

Our tolerance of them, in a way, indicates that we will put up with a certain amount of useless and downright unfair regulations in our lives.

Such seemingly harmless regulations that function as what could only be called “soft fascism.”

I have recently been given two different $21 tickets for parking on a street at night in Cambridge. It was not in a no-parking zone and it was on a quiet residential street.

The law simply states that it is illegal to park a motor vehicle on any road, or as they define it, a “highway” in the city of Cambridge, from 2:30 to 6:00 am.

The city of Waterloo also has similar bylaws in effect. It is nothing more than an extortion racket to garner money via fines.

It is a completely unjust law, which not only inconveniences people, but actually encourages drunk driving since it disallows people from parking overnight and sleeping at a friend’s house.

This law actually tempts people to brave the drunken drive home in order to evade the fine. After all, parking in the driveway isn’t always an option.

This law is also defined in incredibly vague and misleading terms on the official documentation.

In these documents, all roads -and even bike and pedestrian trails- are defined as highways.

However, by its very definition, a highway is defined as “a highway or a part of a highway under the jurisdiction of the City”.

It is as if everyone is supposed to intuitively understand that “highway” means any road or trail without it being explicitly defined as such, to the point where the definition fails to even attempt clarifying this crucial distinction.

This vague terminology seems almost intentionally designed to confuse and mislead people into not understanding what the laws are, so they’ll unknowingly break it and be fined. Surprisingly, this is just an example of one irrational bylaw out of many others.

In the city of Mississauga, for example, it is illegal to hang clothes up to dry in one’s own yard. While here in Waterloo, the fines for public urination are $450, an absurdly high fine for such an incredibly minor crime.

The common denominator of oppressive and corrupt laws is that they are all ridiculous and lack any rational justification.

It is not merely the unreasonable nature of the lawss that makes them oppressive, but the attitude that a law doesn’t need to make sense or be rationally explained in order to exist.

The attitude is that we must accept these laws simply because it is the law; a circular argument if there ever was one.

The idea of the social contract has been distorted to the point where we are supposed to accept unfair laws that have no logical purpose for existing, and take them at face value.

There are not even any attempts to justify these law’s existence, and in my case, only vaguely worded and misleading legal documentation that defines every minor road and trail as “highway”.

Well, I have no intention of using confusing wordage here so I will define these laws as what they are and as clearly as I possibly can: random and unjust.

We need to stop tolerating the soft oppressions in our lives, even though they may seem irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

The implicit attitudes behind these arbitrary laws, the attitude of unquestioning adherence to legal rules and regulations, even when they don’t make sense and when we are given any explanation as to why these laws exist, is something very serious that must be challenged and opposed indeed.

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