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The Town of Hampstead, with a population of over 7,0001, has become embroiled in controversy over a recent modification to its

noise bylaw2. The amendments were specifically forbidding excessive noise on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, two high holidays of the Jewish faith. However, upon further review, an official for the Town of Hampstead also brought to light that it also includes other major holidays, including Labour Day, Christmas and Easter. 3 In addition, the law has been in effect for a number of years, and only recently was amended with the dates of holidays. It is also important to note that although the Town of Hampstead has pointed out that the matter arose over a disgruntled citizen, who was denied a construction permit during those days.4 The resident, Frank Chano, is contemplating bringing his case to the Human Rights commission.5 In a CJAD interview, constitutional lawyer Julius Grey discussed the problem of bylaw that when a town dictates when you may or may not mow your lawn based on a religious consideration goes beyond the powers of a municipality.6 And that is the essential problem with the by-law, as it sets a dangerous precedent. Religion and government policy have had a long and checkered history, and the public view in recent history has been that they should stay far a part. And rightly so. Would I be prevented from mowing my lawn on Sundays, because it might offend my Christian neighbours? Or on Friday for my Muslim neighbours? Whether the government is federal, provincial, municipal, or even student government, religion should not be allowed to influence political decisions directly. That being said, it is important to note that although there is no need http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/prof/92591/details/page.cfm? Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=2466062&Geo2=PR&Code2=24&Data=C ount&SearchText=Hampstead&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1 =Custom&Custom=1000 2 http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110929/mtl_hamps tead_110929/20110929/?hub=MontrealHome 3 http://www.cjad.com/CJADLocalNews/entry.aspx? BlogEntryID=10295407 4 http://www.cjad.com/CJADLocalNews/entry.aspx? BlogEntryID=10295407 5 http://www.cjad.com/CJADLocalNews/entry.aspx? BlogEntryID=10295407 6 http://www.cjad.com/CJADLocalNews/entry.aspx? BlogEntryID=10295187
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legislate such matters, it is also important to extend courtesy to those of other faiths. A buzzing chain saw, along with the sounds of hammers and drills do not sound appealing on Easter Sunday either. Perhaps residents should learn that the mutual respect between creates a better community, a better example to society at large. Perhaps that example would go a long way fixing one of the problems caused by the issue. After being sensationalized by many media outlets, much anti-Semitic rhetoric has been bandied about. Simply look through the comment on the pages of news agencies that covered the story. 7 It is definitely disheartening, seeing xenophobic and racial comments openly being submitted in the public sphere. Whats more disheartening is that these same people would vehemently deny that they are not racist. One can only hope that in the future, citizens would express reciprocated respect towards other cultures, and that legislators would leave citizens to do what they like on their holidays.

http://montreal.openfile.ca/blog/curator-blog/curated-news/2011/wasmedia-response-hampsteads-noise-bylaw-unfair
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