UPDATE: ‘Footloose’ actor Kevin Bacon might actually might actually visit Taber, Alta. after all. A group of people in Edmonton posted a video on YouTube asking Kickstarter to help raise $100,000 in order to pay Bacon to attend a massive dance party planned to take place just outside the Alberta community. So far though, they haven’t heard back from the actor’s managers.
(Original story continues below video)
Did you just speak at a slightly elevated volume?
Well that could be enough to hit you with a $150 fine in the town of Taber, Alta. The community, located in the southern part of the province with a population of 8,104, has introduced a new bylaw that basically bans freedom. For one, it outlaws spitting, swearing and yelling. But it also gives police officers the power to disperse groups of three or more people (seriously?!), forces bars to keep noise to a minimum and requires people under the age of 18 to be indoors by 11 p.m.
Sound familiar? Welcome to your very own version of Footloose, folks. A small town where loud noises (and fun) are banned.
The “Community Standards Bylaw” was created to “regulate and prohibit certain activities in order to prevent and compel the abatement of noise, nuisances, graffiti and public disturbances and to provide for a curfew for minors.” But most experts are saying this legislation won’t even hold up for a second in court.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous, and I’ve called it an embarrassment,” said Political Science instructor Lisa Lambert. “This law makes it seem as though southern Alberta communities are not welcoming, and that’s just not true.”
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the legislation, however, is that it doesn’t even define what a swear word is. And letting police decide on that as they go seems like a solid idea.
Unsurprisingly, there’s been no shortage of reaction on social media:
Anyone going to Taber this weekend to walk up and down the streets, arm in arm, in groups of 4, while swearing?
— Brad Lazaruk (@blazaruk) March 11, 2015
Welcome To Taber
— Coffee Whisperer (@TheListenerYYC) March 11, 2015
— Chelsea Chelsea (@1002things) March 9, 2015
Taber, Alberta? WTF!
— kambiz Mot (@kammot) March 11, 2015
Can anyone imagine a realistic scenario where the Taber by-law isn’t unconstitutional?
— Paul Fairie (@paulisci) March 11, 2015
— Lars Callieou (@ExtraLars) March 11, 2015
Who wants to organize a flashmob to dance to “Footloose” in Taber?
— Kent Wilson (@Kent_Wilson) March 10, 2015
A number of lawyers have already come forward, volunteering to challenge the law for free:
Hats off to Lethbridge Lawyers for volunteering to challenge offensive Taber By-Law. pic.twitter.com/Vo7ANfFdrm
— Rob Harvie (@Rob_Harvie) March 11, 2015
So it looks like we’ll be seeing some court cases over this in the near future.
Way to %&$# up, Taber.