Recently the Town of Taber, Alberta, came under fire for their bylaw which would ban, among other things, swearing in public and spitting. There’s also mention of a curfew for kids and teenagers between the hours of 11 PM and 6 AM.
Predictably, there’s also been a lot of backlash from people spewing forth words like, “Unconstitutional!”
There may be some merit to this argument but one also has to wonder what prompted the enactment of this bylaw in the first place. Truth be told, the bylaw has likely always been in effect, but rarely enforced, as it is in most Canadian towns and cities.
Which leads us to believe that perhaps the problem has recently become so epidemic that the Town of Taber decided to actually start enforcing this bylaw. And what, pray tell, might have precipitated that decision?
I work in downtown Edmonton where it seems to be perfectly acceptable to some to spit on our sidewalks. Most of the perpetrators are males who seemingly have such an abundance of saliva in their mouths that they feel a need to share it with the rest of us. I wish I could tell you this sort of thing happens only out of doors, but sadly, it does not. I have seen them do it inside the shopping centres and parkades as well. However, not one of them has considered that perhaps I would prefer not to have to walk behind or unwittingly through their gobs of spit on the ground. I also wonder what their own homes look like. And I would also prefer not to have to consider waterproof footwear just to accommodate my walk to my workplace every day. Since I happen to love my beautiful city, I would also prefer that people don’t spit (or worse) on it.
As for swearing…there is a time and place for everything. Perhaps sitting on a bus in the midst of other commuters swearing pointless and loud profanities in that tight closed space is not the place. Just ask the young man who was recently charged with this “crime” in Edmonton as he decided to spew his verbal diarrhea onto the other passengers.
Again, I wonder what their homes are like – do they randomly spew obscenities while watching TV with their loved ones, do they wake up their children in the middle of the night by yelling loudly at them to ensure they receive their daily dose of obnoxious behaviour? There’s swearing at a hockey game with your like-minded buddies who are equally disappointed and frustrated with the performance of their favourite team, the Calgary Flames. But imagine sitting in a boardroom when your lawyer suddenly shouts a few creative and derogatory oaths in your direction as he’s attempting to explain your legal obligations under an Asset Purchase Agreement.
Obviously, I’m being facetious. But I would wager the town council of Taber has likely received a number of complaints from its residents regarding these issues and it’s likely taken longer than most of us realize for the Town of Taber to begin enforcing these bylaws simply by virtue of the bureaucratic process.
Which is ironic, considering it’s the town’s citizens raising their children who are asking the town council to protect them from themselves. Maybe if those same parents had oh, I don’t know, not raised their children up to be spitting, swearing little brats and instituted their own curfews, perhaps then the Town of Taber could instead busy itself worrying about more critical issues like who was going to keep making those “Taber Corn” signs which pop up on our roadways every summer.