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Wednesday, 18 March 2015 15:53

Time to leave Taber alone

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Okay it has been kind of fun to watch, purely from an entertainment and creative perspective, but it’s time to leave the town of Taber alone.


The media attention the community of about 8,000 has received has been overblown and the comments and campaigns against the town on social media unfair.
The Community Standards Bylaw passed by Taber’s town council in February, but picked up in a media firestorm earlier this month, is similar to other bylaws in both small communities and large cities across the country.
It goes after people who spit and swear loudly in public, puts a curfew on young people under the age of 16 and helps prevent people from hanging out in groups of more than three if they are causing trouble. It also includes fines for loitering, graffiti, fighting in public places and panhandling.
That’s the key to this bylaw that its pundits on social media are missing — it goes after people who are causing trouble. Not only that, but it goes after them in such a way that they receive a fine, as opposed to being charged under the criminal code and having to deal with the court system creating backlogs.
Cardston was in the news last fall when the town residents voted in favour of continuing a prohibition on alcohol sales in the community. There are other communities in Alberta with similar bylaws to Taber. Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Lacombe are just a few. Even Vancouver has a bylaw banning public spitting, urinating and defecating which has been on the books since 2007.
The reason these kinds of bylaws exist is because they work.
According to a Calgary Sun article on March 12, Lacombe’s Police Chief Steve Murray said that community has seen a one-third reduction in criminal mischief since their bylaw came into force in 2013. According to the article, criminal mischief has decreased 33 per cent, public disturbance calls have decreased 30 per cent and there has been a 27 per cent decrease in criminal harassment and bullying.
These kind of results don’t lie.
Bylaws such as these, while maybe not worded the best, are about giving police the tools they require to go after problem people or groups without clogging up already over-burdened court systems.
The only bad news in this bylaw is the unfair attention it has received on social media.
“I’m very disappointed with the black eye that the community has been improperly given. We had a bunch of good people, trying their best to make good decisions for this community,” Taber Inspector Graham Abela told the Globe and Mail in a March 15 story.  “Others have laughed and joked, and make fun of this community. It’s absolutely inappropriate and unwarranted. That’s what I’m mad at.”
We agree. It’s time to leave Taber alone.
Rose Sanchez is assistant managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact her with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor