Here's a letter I just fired off to Council. If you haven't already, please send one yourself (in your own words):
Dear Mayor and Councillors,Misc updates:
Tomorrow's Council meeting looks like it will be a marathon one. The nuisance By-law, proposed by Councillor Bédard, is a small but powerful item. I feel that it is far too powerful and broad for its intended goal.
You have heard opposition to this by-law from the Defense Counsel Association of Ottawa, as well as from the Centretown Citizens Community Association (whose area includes Elgin and Bank streets). Both say that this by-law crosses the line. The by-law technically outlaws such spontaneous activities as the Sens Mile, and even Christmas Carols, not to mention the threat it poses to political speech such as demonstrations.
I live on Gladstone Avenue near Bronson, and I knew when I moved in that it can get noisy at times. I've made my share of noise complaints under the existing noise by-law, which were successfully dealt with. After 1am, these complaints aren't handled by by-law officers but by the police, so a new by-law is redundant. The activities that Councillor Bédard describes in the report are already covered by criminal law.
I ask that you reject this motion, or at the very least refer it back to transportation Committee for further consultation and input from the public.
- Mark Ertel, President of the Defense Counsel Association of Ottawa, has expressed the DCAO's opposition to the by-law, saying they'll try to have the by-law struck down when it gets used.
- The CCCA voted to oppose this by-law at its February meeting.
- The Panhandler's Union is examining its own strategies (I correspond with them but I'm not directly involved)
- It looks like the motion may be referred back to Transportation Committee, where more people can submit input after all this new opposition. This is much better than being approved!
- Previous two posts on the topic: Honey, get my picket sign and Public speech ban by-law gets a step closer
- Text and background of motion: http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/trc/2010/02-03/07-ACS2010-CCS-TRC-0003.htm
- Agenda for tomorrow's Council meeting: http://www.ottawa.ca/cgi-bin/docs.pl?Elist=14495&lang=en
- Student leader arrested for 'causing a disturbance by swearing': http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Ottawa+student+federation+president+charged+with+causing+disturbance/2519096/story.html