Editorial: Why can’t we all just mind our own?

We are, indeed, a society of complainers.

We are, indeed, a society of complainers.

It’s what we do.

We complain about lineups, and we complain about service. We complain about lawbreakers, but also about law enforcement. We complain about pollution, while driving our cars. We complain about deforestization, from the comfort of our living rooms with wood-burning fireplaces.

We complain about F-18s and Snowbirds and the noise they make, and when they are replaced in the skies of the Comox Valley with noiseless gliders, we complain about the tow planes that take the gliders up.

Sometimes, like on social media, it’s just to vent. Other times, it’s legitimate, and done to predicate change.

And sometimes, like in John Reiter’s case, the complaint can lead to forced lifestyle adjustments.

Reiter is the fellow who has been in a court battle with the Comox Valley Regional District for the past year over bylaw compliance.

There is a bylaw in place in our regional district that states no one can live on his or her own land in an RV for more than 60 days in a one-year span. By the RD’s own admission, such bylaws are only enacted upon in response to complaints. In other words, someone complained that John Reiter is living in a trailer. Not on their land; on his.

He isn’t stealing anyone else’s power. He isn’t siphoning water from someone else’s well. He is living on a trailer on his own land, minding his own business. Or at least he was, until someone decided it was their business to disrupt his life.

The regional district was just doing what the regional district does – following through on a complaint from a resident.

The City of Vancouver is banking on complainers to help it with bylaw enforcement. It put out a plea this week, asking residents to report any neighbours they see who are not complying with the water restrictions.

It seems not so long ago that we, in North America, used to shake our heads at the “Big Brother” way of life we heard so much about in Eastern Bloc societies and how living in such a society could only instill paranoia among the people. Now our own governments are encouraging it.

George Orwell would say “I told you so” if he could.

 

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