Oh to be a fly on the wall during senior management discussions at city hall in Cornwall these days.
At the moment, the Seaway City has been drawn into an interesting situation by a person who is seeking a remedy for a written rule she has never been personally impacted by.
Anyone reading the city’s Standard-Freeholder of late will no doubt have seen the story involving a complaint filed by an as-yet-unnamed woman regarding the local government’s bylaw related to being topless at city-run aquatics facilities and in municipal parks.
Right now, the doctrine states that if you’re female and older than 10 years of age you are banned from being topless. Breasts and nipples mustn’t be exposed.
Yet, this flies in the face of a provincial government regulation passed more than 20 years ago. According to Ontario code, Cornwall has no right to have a rule like this on its books.
Women of any age have the court won right to bare their chest similar to the way any male may do so.
Cornwall’s city governance isn’t the only party listed in the complaint, however.
The woman who launched the gender discrimination case has also targetted hotels throughout Ontario, including Hawkesbury’s Quality Inn and Suites and Ottawa’s historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier, as well as Calypso Theme Waterpark in Limoges.
Cornwall Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy has said only that the female is not a resident of Cornwall or the surrounding region. To date, council members have only discussed the matter in closed session.
Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal, meanwhile, hasn’t scheduled a hearing on the matter, and full details of the complaint haven’t been made public.
Of course, one could argue that this case matters due to the affront to women who continually have their breasts sexualized, but must keep them covered.
Yet, the frivolity of the entire situation is astounding.
Even with very little known, it is fact the complainant has never been told to cover up while in Cornwall.
The city has an easy decision to make — change the rule. No money need be wasted on legal fees to fight against a regulation that is law provincewide.
Render the women’s argument moot and move on.