By Lethbridge Herald on January 14, 2022.
STEPHEN KIRK – GUEST COLUMN
Recent changes arriving within phase 2 of the Alberta Provincial Administrative Penalties Act seek to eliminate the public’s right to challenge traffic charges in open court. Doing so effectively reinforces the current government’s fiscal bottom line securing a lucrative income source through the implementation of what is merely a poorly disguised form of “taxation without representation.”
As of April 1, 2020, the Alberta government increased its portion of any provincial fine money collected by municipalities from 26.7 to 40 per cent, a walloping 13.3 points. Now it appears the government is intent on expanding their profit margin through the elimination of associated costs relating to open and transparent court proceedings.
I find it more than a mere coincidence that this government has taken steps limiting the purchase of additional photo radar equipment and its installation at new locations, but only until Dec. 1, 2022, all the while touting newly revised parameters as to where and when photo radar may be used – a purely political move whereby the government is seen to give with its right hand, while hoping Albertans won’t notice it will soon be taking even more with the left?
In effect, Albertans are now being told to like it or lump it – all without recourse to face their accuser or provide sworn testimony regarding the circumstances present and actions taken; arguments previously evaluated by an experienced and impartial member of the Alberta judiciary. Our serving M.L.A.’s should keep in mind the old adage remembering, “Justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done,” an important right that will no longer be extended to everyday Albertans when the process is hidden from the eyes of the public.
Stephen Kirk is a retired Sergeant of the Calgary Police Service responsible for supervising day-to-day operations of the Photo Radar Unit during the late 1990’s. A court-accredited traffic collision reconstructionist and breathalyzer technician, Kirk was instrumental in the initial research, costing, and planning of Calgary’s Red Light Safety Initiative.