Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jun 2010
Source: Langley Advance (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Roland Seguin
Author: Roland Seguin


Dear Editor,

There are times when lawyers and judges should be held in higher
esteem, especially when they are protecting our precious, hard-fought

Thankfully, a judge of the BC Court of Appeals had the wisdom to put
the brakes on the continual erosion of our rights and freedoms [Courts
protect grow operators, May 28 Opinion, Langley Advance].

Private property rights are the fundamental cornerstone of any free

Instinctively, it appeared to be Big Brother intrusion: the grow-op
search/seizures by bureaucrats (without court ordered warrants) on
private property were in violation of our basic rights and freedoms.

If our freedoms prevent the police from entering private property to
search or seize (without a warrant), how can one rationalize that it
is OK for a group of zealous municipal employees (self-directed
bureaucrats) to do so under the bylaw enforcement of a Public Safety
Inspection Team (PSIT)?

Call it "safety" and it excuses all other rights and

Unreasonable pretences for search and seizure? Consider especially
because the suspicion of wrongdoing is entirely based on consumption
of (more-than-one's-share-of) electricity, which in itself is not a

The higher-than-normal consumption of electricity is then projected to
suspicion of horticultural growing activities of possible illicit
products, i.e. marijuana.

BC Hydro used to refuse to release their meter-reading records to the
local governments, as a privacy matter between them and their
customers. Then things changed.

Due to prodding from some municipalities, BC Hydro made the electric
meter readings available to local government, and then the PSIT
search/seizure spread via fire departments throughout B.C.

Prior to BC Hydro's change of practice and the established PSIT
search/seizures, there was much less meter-bypassing and theft of
power. Most grow-ops didn't have to worry about high meter readings;
they simply paid BC Hydro for the power they used. BC Hydro and the
police dealt with any resulting problems.

After the PSIT search/seisures, the growers resorted to disguising
their consumption, bypassing meters to avoid detection and being raided.

The move of local government jumping in with the PSIT search/seizures
transferred all the enforcement cost to us local taxpayers.

Also, now BC Hydro wasn't being paid for a good part of its
electricity. Grow-ops avoid paying, but we taxpayers are covering it
with higher utility rates.

Any enforcement, should be structured and done under the jurisdiction
of BC Hydro and the RCMP (with appropriate search warrants). The
Township should make its resources, (fire department and others)
available in a limited manner to assist, but only on an individual
basis at the RCMP or BC Hydro's request.

The fire department should be at arm's length and perform its normal
role and function.

We have to stop growing the bureaucracy by being so willing to take on
responsibilities of other jurisdictions, as other levels of government
are only too happy to download them on us. We spent all those tax
dollars with the PSIT, violated peoples rights, and achieved
questionable results.

Langley City has never had a PSIT and there does not appear to be any
greater problems because of it.

It's no secret that certain horticulture is buoying up our economy,
and we should be at least legitimate in how we regulate/enforce it.

Also, pot use and pot growing are becoming less demonized and more
recognized medicinally throughout North America. Canada now licenses
some medicinal marijuana growers.

Many U.S. states also license medicinal pot use and

Roland Seguin,
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake