Big Brother is watching over you, and it may get worse! Whoa, where did that statement come from?
Well as we all know, Town of Morinville currently has the pleasure of having 26 approved photo radar sites across town reducing speed and increasing the safety of our residents. Photo Radar otherwise known as the Automated Traffic Enforcement Program includes photo-technology specifically designed to capture a photo of a traffic related violation in conjunction with radar, laser equipment or other existing or new enforcement technology for the issuance of a traffic violation ticket and deployed in a method where a conventional traffic stop by a RCMP or Community Peace Officer was not applied.
How is it going to get worse? Recently at a Committee of the Whole Meeting, Mr. David Steer from Global Traffic Group did a presentation on Red-light Video Cameras and Stop Sign camera enforcement technology and how much safer the Town of Morinville would be using this type of enforcement and “freeing” up valuable time of the RCMP and Community Peace Officers to do other enforcement work.
The presentation I witnessed appeared to be more of a sales pitch than an information session, and I could tell that it caught the Council off guard. It should be noted that Councillor Turner made it very clear that there has been no decision in Morinville to apply this technology. Also, thanks to Councillor Stephen Dafoe for making the motion to table any discussion on this new technology until the Town’s Photo Enforcement Policy is reviewed, and to the rest of Council for unanimously agreeing to this motion.
Where are we all going with all the new software and technology and where does it stop? It appears that as long as Alberta Solicitor General approves the equipment and software it can be used for enforcement purposes and as long as Council approves the use, it can and will be implemented under the umbrella of “it’s all about safety”. One can argue that we are moving in the modern direction that allows various “tools” for use in enforcement in which we are capturing law breakers, creating the impression that we are safer because of these tools.
Are we such an evil community that we must be monitored more closely to ensure we abide by the laws of the land?
At the next Committee of the Whole Meeting, Tuesday, April 19th, our Council will be reviewing the current Automated Traffic Enforcement Technology Program Policy. We all have a voice, and our failure to use that voice is what allows this type of big brother encroachment to our freedoms grow roots and firmly plant itself into controlling our future wellbeing.
I urge you to let your voice be heard and let Council know where you want the line to be drawn when it comes to traffic enforcement (fully automated technology, where there is no tolerance or discretion allowed or more Community Peace Officers and RCMP).
Remember, it is us who have allowed “Big Brother” to open the door to invade our lives; and it is also us who have the power to close the door and keep him out. Your silence will open the door; your actions will close it.
Final Note to Council: I was pleased with your reaction to the presentation and completely understand that as for me, you were seeing this presentation for the first time. I could see your surprise and disappointment when it was assumed by some that you would rubber stamp this and implement it. I would like to thank Council for taking the time to listen to the public, guarding their concerns on the automated traffic enforcement program and I know that you will write and implement a policy based on the needs of the community and not for an economic advantage to non-resident businesses.