How low will the city of Winnipeg go? Try ‘traffic safety’ tickets on Remembrance Day

This year for Remembrance Day we attended the ceremony at Vimy Ridge Park, and it was wonderful to see the huge crowd and especially other parents bring their children, to honour our veterans and those who gave their lives for this country. 

When we left the ceremony and bought gas nearby, the owners had closed the store kiosk so that the tradition (is it still the law?) of retail sales being suspended as a show of respect was maintained. 

 

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But further down Ellice Avenue, towards Maryland, a new tradition was being invented. 
 
Police stopping vehicles, doing random seat-belt checks. 
 
We talked it over on the drive home and were sceptical of police, in broad daylight, on a slow moving inner city street (as opposed to say, Highway 59), on a day when so many took the weekday to participate in the spirit of community, stopping folks in the name of “safety”. 
 
The “safety” benefits seem … somewhat marginal. 
 
It came across like the police service is focusing on generating revenue for the city — with the sense MPI which funnels money to the police was lurking nearby, because their monopoly also makes money off the demerit fees. 
 

But as I found out yesterday, seat-belt tickets were not as low as the police would go on November 11th.

 

Some of the other random spot-checks around town went beyond seat belts – and went under the hoods of the vehicles.
 
I’m not sure what anyone else might think, but to me, police looking to issue offence notices on Remembrance Day for ‘insufficient windshield washer fluid’ is as low as they can go. 
 
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Apparently officers take a special dipstick and measure the depth or lack of depth I guess, of the fluid, in case there’s a ‘safety hazard’. 
What’s next, measuring the viscosity level to see if it’s too weak for the temperature that day?
 
I suppose the real explanation for why this predatory policing was going on was inadvertently admitted yesterday as well:

“Reports predicting a budget surplus are usually good news for city councillors but finance chairman Marty Morantz said the city’s projected year-end surplus is masking a serious problem.

Morantz (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Whyte Ridge) said the budget surpluses have only been achieved by taking cash either from reserves, selling land or finding savings in department budgets.

 “The surplus is, in my view, artificial,” Morantz said, repeating a phrase that has become, for him, a monthly mantra. “It is the result of one-time revenue sourcesthat we really shouldn’t have to do.” “

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Winnipeg-financials-in-the-black-346695012.html

Dear Coun. Marantz:

There is something else “we really shouldn’t have to do”–  ie police handing out bullshit tickets to drivers — ESPECIALLY on Remembrance Day! — just because Mayor Bowman is desperate for revenue and won’t reign in policing (and other) spending.

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Men and women of our military died for what, citizens to get tickets on a day when they basically couldn’t even buy washer fluid before 1 pm

This was a week after a judge (or was it a magistrate?) stated the city was “Ducking” a court challenge to the validity of snow zone towing fines, by walking away from defending an appeal on a ticket.

http://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/court-won-t-weigh-in-on-know-your-zone-program-after-city-chooses-not-to-oppose-ticket-appeal-1.2642790

The sense around our dinner table and others in our neighborhood is that Mayor Bowman is picking on drivers in particular, because the targets are simply average individuals with no resources to fight his lawyers in a slimy court process that is disgustingly one-sided and unaccountable.

“A lawyer for the city would not say why the case was dropped.”

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Is this the kind of transparency Mayor Bowman promised in the election campaign?

I have also heard that the same tactic is being used on appeals of construction zone tickets given out on Kenaston/Route 90 near IKEA. 

Why do people think City lawyers have something to hide?

Perhaps Coun. Marantz should stand up at the upcoming public budget consultations and tell us if issuing bogus traffic tickets is going to be relegated to the category of “one-time revenue sources”, or if he supports Mayor Bowman’s practice of balancing the budget by victimizing families who own and drive vehicles in our city.

 

penni.penner@manitobaexposed.com

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