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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home owners burnt by barbecue

My parents are getting in trouble with the municipality because of the Liberty Summer Seminar that I host on their property. I'd appreciate your help.

Here's an excerpt of the press release:

Due to an anonymous zoning complaint filed with the local municipality, husband and wife bed-and-breakfast proprietors Marta & Lech Jaworski may be forced to pay as much as $50,000 in fines for permitting their son, Peter, to use his family’s property to host the Liberty Summer Seminar, an annual barbecue in support of liberty.

“Our family escaped Poland for fear of reprisals in 1984 after my mom and dad handed out pro-democracy and pro-freedom literature from under my baby carriage,” said Peter Jaworski. “It’s ironic and upsetting that they may now be facing charges in Canada for allowing me to host an event in support of those very same principles.”

The Liberty Summer Seminar is a non-profit event for like-minded individuals hosted by the Institute for Liberal Studies, a registered charity in Canada.

The LSS has drawn hundreds of students and young people, prominent academics, like emeritus professor of philosophy Jan Narveson who was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, journalists like CBC’s Kady O’Malley and U.S.-based Reason Magazine senior editor Michael C. Moynihan, as well as politicians like M.P. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, M.P.P. Randy Hillier, and M.P. Scott Reid, as well as , amongst many others.

Read the rest.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on August 17, 2010 in Canadian Provincial Politics, Current Affairs | Permalink


Zoning laws: another victimless crime.

I'm curious as to how the bed-and-breakfast facility fits in with the current zoning law maze in the Orono area. Does it violate the regulations too? Having had run-ins with idiotic building inspectors in the past, I know how Peter is feeling.

Posted by: Dennis | 2010-08-17 7:45:05 AM

Im surprised Canadians can be trusted with Propane, i shouldnt be giving the government any ideas.

Posted by: don b | 2010-08-17 9:09:45 AM

P.M., that link is to the Ontario Planning Act. If people want to see the actual zoning bylaw, it is available here. As amended, it does not appear to say anything specific about "commercial conference centres." Now then.

Zoning laws, pestersome though they can be, are designed to promote harmony and minimize friction between adjacent properties. Their intent is good, and by and large they do work, even if the typing-pool rejects they put on inspection duty are often petty little trolls. Violating bylaws is not a criminal offence; they are ordinances, not laws, so there is no "victimless crime," even if one accepts the existence of such a thing.

Also, you can probably take some solace in the likelihood that, given the petty and quasi-trumped-up nature these charges seem to have, I'd expect far less than the $50,000 maximum even if the case is found proven, which they may well not be. I'd like to know how they could, if the lynchpin of the case is the word "commercial." How can it be commercial if no money changed hands, if this gathering charged no admission and made no money?

Did the attendees pay to stay at the B&B? Do you have the exemption allowing more than three guests? That may be how they intend to work it. Because unless they can show that money changed hands, I don't see how they can prove this was anything but a party. If the gathering itself had become a nuisance, there is a separate bylaw for that, is there not?

I'm no lawyer, but the case looks weak. If I were you I'd invest in a wrist rocket and pelt the inspector's care. Make sure you use ordinary pebbles instead of the metal balls often used by such slingshots; that way it'll get put down to mischievous kids.*

*Offered for entertainment purposes only. Do not attempt. ;-)

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-08-17 10:44:41 AM

Dennis, the bylaws allow for B&B's in agricultural areas provided they accommodate up to three guest rooms. More can apparently be added if the owner first obtains a "change of use" permit.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-08-17 10:46:03 AM


If they haven't already done so I would recommend that your parents get on the agenda of the next Municipal Council meeting and make a presentation respectfully laying out their case. A sympathetic Council could influence the Bylaw enforcement officer to drop charges in favour of warnings, tickets etc. If that doesn't work directly, the media coverage may help induce letters to the editors or others of influence may help raise awareness. In the worst case, I'm with Shane in that I can't imagine a Magistrate going for a maximum penalty in the event of a guilty verdict.

I also recommend you run for local office to attempt at eliminating these offensive bylaws or at least de-fund their enforcement. If good people don't run for office guess what kind does?

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-08-17 11:36:05 AM

Hey, P.M.! You guys made today's Post. Nationwide circulation. Let's see how town council likes its turn in the hot seat.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-08-19 11:24:57 AM

I've just finished reviewing the Definitions section and Agricultural use section of Clarington's By-laws, including exceptions, and there is NOTHING preventing this property from hosting any event like this. The Provincial Offenses Officer who issued this notice of Violation is a fool for issuing it , but then they were probably directed to do so by a sitting council member. Don't forget that this is an election year and crap like this will be ongoing from now until the election. There is nothing in hte by-llaws that specifically exclude this activity from the property, therefore acording to the way the by-law is written this use does not violate any part of the by-law. As a former CBO & PSO in a rural municipality this is common place and the alleged complaintant was probably promised something. A councillor or municipal staff member is also not permitted to file a complaint without their identity being revealed to the public. Municipal Freedom of Information Act address's this and clearly only protects the identity of a private citizen. Unfortunately you now have to waste your time and resourses to deal with this Petty issue. Don't worry about anything, someone is just being their miserable selves.

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