The Township of Esquimalt is considering a bylaw to restrict the sale of drug paraphernalia within three kilometres of a school. I’m not going to offer my opinion on the draft bylaw right now. That said, I am familiar with Smith v. St. Albert (City), 2012 ABQB 780, a recent decision about a bong store selling drug paraphernalia in Alberta. It shares some similarities with the situation in Esquimalt. If you are looking for a quick summary, read paragraphs 24 to 27:
 The practical effect of the bylaw is to preclude the licencing or successful operation of what have become colloquially known as bong or head shops. That is what the Mayor implicitly suggested in his letter of July 22, 2011, to the mayors of the surrounding municipalities.
 It is possible that the health and welfare of St. Albert’s citizens may be improved by the effect of the impugned bylaw in the sense that St. Albert residents may not have easy access to some of the tools which may assist their involvement with narcotics, and because of that, they may give up on such involvement. However, I think that indirect effect is quite uncertain.
 A further practical effect of the amending bylaw is that the delict addressed by ineffective Criminal Code prohibitions is more effectively addressed by the amending bylaw. The imposition of criminal type consequences is a further tool to enhance effectiveness. Of course, criminal law type penalties are plainly within the authority of the province to enact, for a legitimate and constitutional provincial purpose.
 In my view, in legal effect and in practical effect, the impugned bylaw is about criminal law, a power which is plainly beyond the competence of the municipality. Therefore, both in terms of purpose and in terms of effect, the amending bylaw is legislation in relation to criminal law. As such it is ultra vires the municipality and must be struck down.
The Township of Esquimalt has created a new position called Director of Community Safety Services. It sounds like an amazing opportunity for the right person:
“Providing management expertise and advice to the Chief Administrative Officer and executive team, you will plan, coordinate and manage policing and law enforcement liaison; community policing and crime prevention initiatives; bylaw enforcement; emergency planning; and building inspection.
You will lead a team of qualified and committed staff to ensure that “best practices” are continuously reviewed and, where appropriate, adapted to Esquimalt’s benefit. In consultation with community stakeholders you will be responsible for long range planning and policy development in these areas and your efforts will improve the quality of life of Esquimalt’s residents ensuring that Esquimalt remains a livable, sustainable community.
Your abilities and knowledge include the identification and prioritization of community policing and emergency management; familiarity with the principles, practices and methods of community policing, emergency management and disaster preparedness; proven skills in effective communication; and the analysis, evaluation and design of operational policies and programs. Supported by a relevant Baccalaureate, you possess at least 10 years of senior experience in community policing, law enforcement and bylaw and emergency management. In addition, you possess, or are eligible for, Canadian Federal Government security clearance sufficient to interact effectively with policing agencies.”
The application deadline is July 31, 2013.
This is a well-written essay by Deputy Chief Ducker. Even if you disagree with police regionalization, it raises some interesting facts and anecdotes that many people throughout the CRD probably did not know about or may not have considered:
It’s no secret to VicPD members that many of the region’s hardcore drug dealers, organized criminals and party crowd live in the outlying areas, which most certainly includes Saanich.
The criminal element of these groups ply their trade on the streets of our downtown core and often retire to the bedroom communities, where not enough attention is paid to them. After 34 years I could fill a police notebook with instances where outlying agencies have either declined outright or simply don’t have the true capacity to deal with serious criminal elements living in their communities, leaving it to VicPD to handle or simply allow the problem to be ignored.
This is an important historical document. It is over a decade old. I am not 100% sure, but this may be the first time that it has been publicly released. I am
posting it here linking to the document publicly available on the Open Information web site (managed by the Government of British Columbia) so that people can learn about the history of policing in the Capital Regional District.
Update on March 26, 2013: Changes have been made to this blog post for legal reasons. I have removed the copy hosted on my personal web site. Instead, I am linking to the document entitled “Esquimalt Police Department Review” that has been released to the public by the Government of British Columbia on its Open Information web site. I apologize to any readers who many have set up a link to the (now removed) document. For those who are unfamiliar with the Open Information web site, here is a description from the “About” section:
“In an effort to become more open and transparent, the government is proactively working to provide citizens with access to the information that matters most to them – no closed doors or hidden agendas. It’s felt that this candid disclosure will create opportunities for citizens to participate in government and collaborate on decisions being made.
This type of information sharing is governed by legislation and policy that makes provision for the release of public information. These releases have been completed on a case-by-case basis – until now. Open Information provides access to the routine release of public information that has been most commonly requested (i.e. travel expenses for Ministers and Deputy Ministers). Additionally, individual requests for specific government information that are processed will also be released for general public viewing on this site.
This service will not only improve awareness, understanding and dialogue; it will create efficiencies that modernize and open up government. We invite you to take a look and get to know your government better – you may like what you find.”
As a general reminder, please note that the personal views expressed on this blog are mine alone, and are not to be construed as the views of any other organization. If you have any questions or concerns about this blog, don’t hesitate to contact me at (250) 813-2117 or email@example.com. I will work with you to address your concerns and I will be happy to answer any questions that you have.
This is interesting for local government watchdogs: a one minute in-camera meeting of Esquimalt Council. Held on November 26th, 2012, they went in-camera at 9:46pm and adjourned at 9:47pm. My assumption here is that, due to the late hour, they decided to table the agenda items for another time.
An alternative explanation is that these Councillors are very, very efficient.