I’ve been surfing through the City of Charlottetown Bylaws today. It’s an interesting collection: reading through it tells you a lot about what the City thinks is important. Or at least important to define and regulate.
For example, there is the Victoria Park and Promenade Bylaw, which runs 29 pages long, and includes such things as this definition of what a bicycle is:
Bicycle means any cycle propelled by human power on which a person may ride, regardless of the number of wheels it has.
It also defines, in considerable detail, what isn’t allowed inside Victoria Park (for example: archery, using sling-shots, obscene or vulgar language, bonfires, planting trees of shrubs, trapping animals).
By contrast, the Policing Services Bylaw is only 3 pages long. And if you remove the sections titled “Emblem” and “Uniform,” the meat of the Bylaw consists of the 142 words in the section “Police Services.”
It seems remarkable that the complexity of policing our little city can be boiled down to so little. Part of me thinks this is a good thing — “small government” and all — and part of me thinks there should be a lot more in the bylaw about what the proper limits and responsibilities of the police are.