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We have a bylaw that references another bylaw in one of the whereas statements.

It says, "WHEREAS Bylaw 1638 provides authority for..." and it doesn't really matter what bylaw 1638 provides authority for, because bylaw 1638 was defeated during its second reading.

I'm guessing these bylaws were drafted around the same time, and for some reason the author decided it was necessary to include the reference to the other bylaw. The one bylaw was passed before the other, which got tabled, and eventually defeated.

Is this bylaw valid?

  • Common sense says yes. Only the promulgator of a rule can decide that its rationale no longer applies unless the rationale is required for the rule to be valid. (If your parents say you can't stay out past 10 because they don't trust you, even if it is an absolute provable fact that they can trust you, the rule still applies until they agree that they can trust you. On the other hand, if the rule said "Because you are under 18...", then proving you are 18 would invalidate the rule, since that is required for the rule to be valid.) – David Schwartz Oct 13 '16 at 20:00
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It would depend on the exact extent of the reference. A phrase like "WHEREAS Bylaw 1638 provides authority for X" only provides political context, and it does not change what the law says. The stuff after the bit that says "NOW, THEREFORE, THE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF HUZIWHATSIS ENACTS AS FOLLOWS" is the enforceable stuff. Wording like "whoever shall be found guilty of violating Bylaw 1638", or "...violates provision C(2) of Bylaw 1638" would be meaningless, since there is no such Bylaw (there may have been a proposed thing, but it isn't a bylaw if it is defeated. The question is whether the present bylaw has meaning without reference to the defeated bylaw. Presumably they thought of that.

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