Motion by Rutherford to refer bylaw back to admin failed 6-7. It seems that the new bylaw will pass.
I'm torn on that debate, they all rose good points. On the one hand, Paquette and the other supporters of the amendment argued that there is nothing in the current bylaw that inhibits enforcement of safety concerns. Peace Officers and police are perfectly allowed to remove people if they make others "feel" unsafe. In fact, I texted the help line after a guy at Clareview TC made my friend and I feel quite unsafe due to some threatening things he was saying on the phone (He was 'ready to kill someone' etc), and I got a response almost immediately that they'd dispatch peace officers ASAP.
They also rose concerns about how expanding this even more, even though the status quo is already enough for officers to do more than they are, could lead to racist enforcement, and they wanted administration to report back on this concern in a couple months. Rutherford argued that "good governance" means taking the time to make informed decisions - especially when amending or creating laws, and she opposed rushing something just because "it feels good and sounds good." Another concern was that, much like with the old loitering bylaw, fines won't really do much in the way of enforcement since houseless people can't afford to pay fines whether they're $50, $250, or $2,500.
HOWEVER, with all that being said, Sohi pointed out that according to officers working on the frontlines, they'd appreciate something like this to make it clearer for them what they're allowed to do; those perspectives based on "real world experience" were important to Sohi. As well, he argued that a lot of marginalized peoples have no choice but to take transit, including persons of colour and Indigenous Peoples, and they deserve to feel safe too. I didn't catch the whole debate, but I imagine that the other opponents to the amendment had similar views. I didn't spend as much time listening to the opponents since the argument for the bylaw change is pretty clear, if you haven't been living under a rock for the past couple of years haha.
So, I dunno I guess. Paquette is absolutely adamant, and has been since the loitering bylaw was revoked, that EPS assured him enforcement would not be impacted by that revocation since they could still remove anyone who made others feel unsafe. So why did that not end up happening? Was the post-loitering bylaw set of rules not as tolerable for enforcement as they thought? Were peace and police officers just not communicated their rights and responsibilities enough? Was it more a matter of having the right set of rules, but inadequate resourcing for enforcement? Maybe it was a little bit of each. This is a tough situation for everyone to be in; residents are clearly feeling unsafe for a reason, and that shows something has to be done. But it's going to be tough finding the right set of solutions when the situation is both highly urgent, and emotionally charged.
It's not like this discussion just started; this comment
and this comment
from Paquette show how long it has taken to get to this point. So maybe it's high time that something be rushed a bit, instead of kicking off more studying. Studies help produce higher quality legislation, but maybe this has already been studied to death. This is quite a long post, and it's all to say: I just don't know what the right decision here is, but I hope the outcome we got helps lead us toward a safe and accessible transit service.