I don’t know what it is about small-town councils that compels them from time to time to issue by-laws that are both ultra vires and unconstitutional, but they never seem to stop doing it. It’s not just teen curfews, either: the council in Lillooet, British Columbia has introduced a by-law that would, among other things, ban “unauthorized performances, marches, meetings and formal gatherings in public places” — a by-law that, according to one civil rights advocate, would not survive a Charter challenge.
If Mayor Dennis Bontron and the councillors of Lillooet District have a problem with paragraph 2(d) of the Charter, which guarantees freedom of peaceful assembly, they should ask the provincial or federal government to invoke the notwithstanding clause. (Good luck with that.) Other than that, they should maybe hire an actual lawyer to look over the drafts of their by-laws so that they don’t make them look like a bunch of drooling, jack-booted busybodies. Honestly, I don’t know why town councils even bother drafting crap that even laypeople can tell is beyond their authority and their competence — are they really this stupid?