Editor: There is an elegance to the rule of law and this elegance lies in its simplicity. The rule of law means that no one is above the law: no individual, no bureaucrat, no government at any level.
If asked, most of us would describe ourselves as law-abiding citizens. We were raised as such and have raised, or are raising, our children within the same moral framework that had served our parents before us.
What has been missed, by some, with respect to the Fort Langley issue, is that the rule of law has been challenged. This should be of importance to each and every person living in our Township, but this has not been the case. In fact, in Fort Langley, those who drew attention to this fact, in court, have been challenged, castigated and abused by those who would rather shoot the messenger than recognize and accept the message. There is a disconnect here.
The guardian of the rule of law is the court and the judiciary, which stands in defence of the law.
Why was the Township of Langley taken to court? To protect the rule of law. The Township lost in court. Why? Because the Township broke the law.
“Governmental decisions must be made only by applying known legal and moral principles,” states Black’s Law Dictionary, fifth edition.
Laws can be changed, but cannot be ignored. Each of us should question any venue where an existing law is ignored and then, when challenged, is changed after the fact.
That is equivalent to raising the speed limit after the rich man has sped through. Are we continuing to abuse the rule of law here in the Township?
How would one explain this issue to one’s children? How do we, as adults, imbue our young people with moral values, and the importance of abiding by the law, when those elected to public office fail to set a worthy example? Our attention must focus, with clarity and without emotion, upon this very basic issue.
Our society is governed by laws which serve to strengthen the framework of our social structure. Laws exist and we do not get to pick and to choose which of these laws we will acknowledge and obey.
Our elected municipal officials are held, or should be held, to a higher standard. This high standard also applies to the municipal bureaucrats and employees who draw their paycheques from the public purse. The standard exists and so do the public expectations.
All of the above begs a final question: because of decisions made by Township council and Township bureaucrats, how many other Langley taxpayers are being, have been, or will be forced to seek redress through the court when comparable, existing laws are disregarded? How many of our hard-earned tax dollars are being, have been or will be spent on well-paid municipal lawyers fighting against municipal taxpayers?
There is a question to be asked and to be answered before the next election.