COMMENTARY: Bad neighbours don’t make good policy

The “activist council” for the City of Cornwall is living up to its name now that a councillor wants to regulate where people point their home security cameras.

This all stems from a constituent who has complained to multiple councillors about a neighbour mounting a camera on a pole in their back yard and pointing it at their yard.

“Their daughters are afraid to go into the back yard because they are afraid of being watched,” Coun. Todd Bennett detailed to council last night.

Granted the situation is heinous and this is really a bad neighbour. But bad neighbours don’t make for good policy.

It seems that Bennett believes if the provincial or federal government can’t do anything, then the city has a duty to police the loopholes regarding what people do on private property even when residents have avenues such as small claims to deal with harassment around security cameras intrusively pointed in their direction.

“I’m sure we’ll have to involve lawyers but whatever we have to do something. We have to protect people’s privacy. Somebody has to take a stand,” he said.

A report will be coming to council but, even if this idea sees the light of day, where does it end on? Are you going to police anyone with a smart phone, a camera or people with binoculars? All could constitute forms of harassment by those on the receiving end of such ogling.

Bennett’s heart is in the right place. But, not only is this intrusive for something that appears to be a minority problem, but the last thing the City of Cornwall needs is implementing another law for the bylaw department to enforce.

This is the same department that opines that it’s grossly understaffed year after year at budget time and yet politicians want to saddle it with another law.

Maybe the city should walk before it runs and stick to upholding properly standards, going after people smoking along the waterfront trail and people smoking within nine meters of a municipal building before it becomes the cam-police.

I’m Bill Kingston.

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