Sadly this immensely important document, and one of the foundation documents of our free and democratic society, is nowhere to be found in our municipal hall. More and more we see municipal government expand itself beyond the limits set in our constitution.
Let us look at the fundamental rights enshrined in this document, and WHY I am discussing this in a municipal campaign.
Take Section 15.
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Sounds pretty easy to understand, we are all to be treated equally before the law, and yet we have in Esquimalt numerous by-laws that violate this basic and fundamental right.
Look at the Business License By-law
This creates a by-law that is inherently discriminatory and violates a few different sections of our constitution. For if we are all to be treated equaly before the law, then the cost of a business license should be the same for any man or woman in Esquimalt, yes? Sadly some on council found it appropriate to place their moral objoecitons to certian legal products, and demanded that some of our residents must pay $2000.00 a year for a business license, while others can have a license for $100.00 so the cost of doing business for SOME costs the same as 20 years of doing business for others.
This is one of many by-laws I believe I can fix by focusing on the constitutional limits of our municipal government. We must charge all people the same amount to do business in Esquimalt or we are creating a situation of uncertainty for business, and an unequal playing field. Do you think business owners want to open a shop in our town if they could come under fire from one or 2 council members, and have their costs driven up 20 times? How does this by-law facillitate the creation of local jobs for our residents? To me it looks like the opposite, it scares business away, leaving our residents having to leave the community to find work.
My vision for Esquimalt is an equal and level playing field for all poeple, who’s rights are protected and not undermined by our municipal council. A place where local business can thrive, and our locals can at least have the opportunity to walk to work, if they so choose.
As the home of te Canadian Navy on the west coast, we musy be extra vigilant in following and supporting the foundational documents of our free society. The same freedoms our military goes out and fights for in the world, are under assault in its backyard. I am only one voice, and yet one voice CAN make a difference, especially on council when you are warning other council and staff that what they are proposing is beyond the limits and jurisdiction of a municipal government and violates the fundamental freedoms that our navy has fought for, all across the globe.
This Nov.15th please vote for Josh Steffler to be your constitutional watchdog on our Township Council.