As you may or may not know, an Alberta election is underway. As its looking like there's a real solid chance that the Wildrose party can seize the reigns of power away from Alison "Red" Redford and her "Progressive" "Conservative" Party, I felt this would be a good time to bring up some of the disastrous legislation enacted by Red Redford's party.
Do you enjoy having your local municipality taking your picture in order to send you a bill for the crime of driving down your street? If you answered no to that, and of course most everybody just did, you have the "Progressive" "Conservative" party to thank.
This is in fact where Ed Stelmach caught this blog's attention way back when he was Minister of Transportation: it's illegal in Alberta to park in front of a photo radar van. This kind of bizarre enforcement and its necessary bizarre rules are the forefront of the "Progressive" "Conservative" attack on your liberties (and indeed the traffic laws).
You see, when municipalities asked for the power to put up photo radar vans, the province begrudgingly (this was in Ralph's day) decided to accept them. There was a catch, though: a series of rules and policies were put in place governing the use of the devices, the notification of them, and the application of them. In 2006, the Klein government, hearing feedback from the public, brought in tougher rule changes to coincide with the allowance of red light cameras. The City of Edmonton and its corrupt police service decided to ignore them, refusing to put up proper signage of restrict the areas of use as called for the in regulations.
Transportation Minister Ed Stelmach did nothing. In 2009, when the "speed on green cameras" cameras came about, new and absolutely toothless regulation was added, basically giving rough suggestions and allowing municipalities to do as they wished. We've seen what Red Redford thinks about your rights on the road, so don't be surprised if she wins tomorrow to see more onerous rules and more lax enforcement of police violations in the future. You heard it here first.
The problem from an actual safety perspective of all this enforcement, of course, is that you have people slowing down for the 250 metres they pass the camera and then resume. These rapid changes in speed, far more than the speed itself, is a serious cause of accidents. You've all seen us doing it (and yes, I'm a proud member of this club): barreling down the Yellowhead at about 110 in the 70 zone, coming up on the 107th street intersection (complete with speed on green cameras in both directions), slamming down to 70, passing the intersection, and resuming to 110. I did a similar maneuvre with a photo radar van earlier today. It's natural, its what people do, and of course longtime blog readers will know that the speed limits (particularly in Edmonton, but indeed province-wide) are far too low and the police bragging about silly enforcement statistics won't change that.
Of course, even if you think speeding is a problem, it's pretty clear that the cameras aren't changing that. It's just police collecting taxes on the side of the road. A tax collection job that seems to them more important than investigating actual crimes. It's why civil forfeiture is such a bad idea: anything where the enforcement of the law benefits the officers involved is bound to be fraught with problems. Anybody who remembers the infamous ACS scandal in Edmonton or the Devon ticket blitz is well aware of that.
Alberta has brought in a foolish system to catch a non-crime and try to solve a perceived problem that couldn't be solved even if the rest of the system worked. It's like a microcosm of Kyoto right here in Alberta.
Fortunately, there is a way to punish the "Progressive" "Conservative" Party and Alison "Red" Redford for this (and other) bad pieces of legislation put out by her party since the dawn of the millennium: vote them out.
There is a strong right-wing alternative: Danielle Smith's Wildrose Party of Alberta. The Wildrose Party's member approved policies contain this line:
11. The Wildrose Alliance supports a review of traffic policing across the province to clearly determine what works and what doesn’t and to amend legislation to remove all financial incentives to traffic law enforcement in Alberta.Getting rid of municipal roadside tax collection means that cities no longer can snap pictures of you driving faster than a random name on the side of the road. With actual resources being required to enforce these laws without their cut of the cash, watch municipal governments decide they have more important things to worry about.
On April 23rd, you can vote Wildrose and see the end of photo radar.