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The Guns of August

To: The Honourable John van Dongen

CC: Langley township, mayor&,
   "van dalfsen, Bert",
   "deJong, Mike"

Subject: The Guns Of August!

Dear Minister,
Wow, what an improvement, now that stricter regulations apply to propane cannons!

My farmer has replaced his single shot cannons with triple shot models. He has also set them for maximum volume ( unlike last year ). So, this summer I get MORE and LOUDER shots per hour than I've ever had before. How is it possible that a single shot cannon is limited to 12 shots per hour but triple shot models are allowed 33? This is totally ludicrous! Multiple shot cannons should also be restricted to 12 blasts per hour... period! A shot is a shot is a shot...! What will you do when someone markets a quadruple or quintuple shot cannon? How many shots per hour do we then have to endure?( 44 and 55 ). But why stop there? Why not have a 20 or 30 or 40 shot cannon. That way we could enjoy 220 or 330 or 440 shots per hour. What kind of convoluted logic is this? Does this represent MAFF's expertise or MAFF's deceptive practices?

Cannon noise pollution will only be solved when both frequency AND sound levels are controlled. Obviously, the frequency issue has not been solved - the farmers are exploiting the loophole you created for them. Since the Ministry refuses to set guidelines for decibel levels, in fact degrading the regulations by allowing all cannons to be operated at their loudest level, there is now no effective control on the noise pollution. Distance guidelines are easily circumvented by dialing up the volume of the cannons. How can you truthfully tell the public you are doing something to control cannon noise without controlling decibel levels?

Enforcement is another issue. Municipalities are either refusing to police the new cannon guidelines ( Abbotsford ) or complaining that they don't have enough manpower to do it ( Langley ). You have passed the responsibility to them but they state that it's your responsibility ( he said - she said ). How does this serve the public interest?

I also have my doubts about the cannon registry. Have all cannons been registered and do they have contact numbers on them? Have you checked?

Is anyone keeping a list of complainants ( as you said would be done)? Langley isn't doing this. Abbotsford isn't doing this. Do we believe that the Blueberry Council will accurately do this when it's a conflict of interest? What kind of idle promise is this?

In conclusion, this whole cannon issue is sickening. While we suffer, your Ministry staff are downplaying the issue. I have it "off the record" that Bert van Dalfsen stated to bylaw officers that complainants are exaggerating the cannon noise problem. More damning evidence is that he even stated in his report to you that noise is only a state of mind, implying that it's all just in our heads ( does he have formal training as a psychologist? - I thought he was an engineer ). Consequently, how can we have any confidence that MAFF is dealing truthfully with complainants? It really seems that you are only interested in protecting a small group of blueberry farmers ( part of a larger agricultural lobby ) while pretending to protect the public at large. How long is this charade going to continue? As one of our members said to you, " when are you going to get off your ass and do something about it ( cannon noise pollution)"?

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