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Washing your mouth out with revenue

Alberta’s ‘corn capital’ has been getting some flack lately, and several residents and officials aren’t too happy about it.

Alberta’s ‘corn capital’ has been getting some flack lately, and several residents and officials aren’t too happy about it.

Taber, a town of just over 8,000 residents, recently passed a bylaw that would penalize anyone who swears, spits or even yells in a public location.

The mayor of Taber has told the media that council would give the bylaw a six-month trial and only utilize it under extreme circumstances.

So hold on to Kevin Bacon’s invitation for a little while longer...who knows if the Footloose star will be needed to protest this new law after all?

The Town of Cochrane has its own bylaws that prohibits excessive noise between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. on weekends, but there is nothing in the books that warrants Cochranites getting a fine for cursing, yelling (during certain hours) or spitting in public.

Surely there are some Cochrane residents who wish there was a fine for this kind of behavior, however.

It should go without saying that someone who is swearing, yelling or ‘hocking a loogie’ is not the most desirable individual to be around, particularly when children are around.

What’s even more unfortunate about all of this is the fact that some municipalities feel they need to pass a law to stop people from being belligerent in public…what ever happened to common courtesy and manners?

Almost everyone had a ‘potty mouth’ during their younger, more laid back years, but as people age and have families of their own, the verbally abrasive become less of an entertainment piece and more of an annoyance to the ‘social order’ many tend to prefer at a more seasoned age.

Taber’s bylaw aims to do just this – curb unruly teen behavior, which apparently the town’s residents have had enough of.

Taber is not the only municipality that has approved such bylaws. The St. Albert Gazette recently did a story on its community’s own law, which was enacted in 1963 and hands a $10 fine out to anyone who uses obscene or offensive language on a street, lane or other public place.

Taber’s police chief Alf Rudd told the Canadian Press that transit police in Calgary hand out seven tickets each month to people for spitting, and he has not seen any backlash for this.

Do bylaws like Taber’s (and others across the country) cross the line when it comes to a person’s right to show emotion, frustration, or, heaven forbid, say sh*t?

Are bylaws like this necessary, or are they simply the product of government trying to control nearly everything we do, even what we say and the volume in which we say it?

The reality of life is that people swear, they yell and they spit. The problem arises when they yell or curse at you, or even worse, spit on you. There will always be that group of teenagers, those with a few drinks in them, or someone who had a bad day, walking down the street using language most would not want in their home. No law will ever get rid of that.

All that being said, there are probably a lot of Taber parents out there who are happy to know that they can bring their kids to a public event and not have to worry about putting on the earmuffs.