By Letter to the Editor on July 29, 2020.
I >am a retired >police officer and >court agent operating out of Medicine Hat. >I recently became aware of >the proposed Alberta Administrative Penalties Act that the UCP are trying to sneak through under Bill 21. I also note that this bill has already had second reading. >
With this new legislation traffic court would be gone. >The police will be able >to charge you with an offence under any provincial act >or municipal bylaw, and you will >no longer be an accused but a >recipient. >You will no longer receive a ticket but a “notice of administrative penalty.” >If you want to contest an >allegation you will have seven days to request a review. You >will >also have to pay a prescribed fee. >The review then has to be done >within 21 days. >Also your matter will not be heard before a judge or traffic commissioner, who are legally trained and independent from the state, >it will be heard >before >an “adjudicator” who will be appointed by the government. > > > >
>Next, >once a review is set, the officer’s notes >and documents >will be >accepted by the adjudicator as if >taken under oath. That means the adjudicator will accept these as being >true. The review will not be done in person and you are not allowed to examine or cross-examine any witnesses or >the police officer. >There will now >be >a reverse onus and you will >basically be guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent.
If you disagree with any decision made, you may appeal to the Court of Queen’s Bench. Here there are more fees and you will probably need a lawyer.
What >of those with limited education, low-income earners and those who barely speak >English? What about those who may be >targeted because of their religion, race, sexual orientation or political affiliations? >
Could our right to a fair hearing be disadvantaged? With recent events, including Black Lives Matter, I think we all >know the answer to that. There is never a good time to give up our rights and give the state and police unprecedented power. >
This >is just another UCP tactic >to cut government costs and generate >revenue. >I encourage all Albertans to contact their MLAs and ask >if they support >this new proposed legislation that takes away our access to justice and if so, >to maybe consider changing their minds. >