For the past several years Winnipeg’s photo radar program has received some bad publicity. In the eyes of many it has morphed from a road safety program to a revenue generating program. Some of you have actually started calling it a cash grab. Others, including a Provincial Court Judge, have questioned whether the Police Service and the City in their zeal to raise photo radar revenue complied with the law.
The Mayor has decided to take steps to address this issue.
In order to dispel the ‘cash grab’ image, the mayor has decided to ‘invest’ our tax dollars and has spent $100,000.00 to purchase a number of radar units with LED displays. These units will tell motorists exactly what their speedometers currently do but using much larger numbers and in colour! Winnipeggers are no doubt excited about this new initiative, just another example of the efficient and effective use of their tax dollars.
Because the mayor is now also spending money on photo radar and not just generating revenue he wants us all to be reassured that photo radar is really all about safety, and not about the money. The Chief of Police has described the project as a ‘worthwhile investment’ – probably because the mayor told him it was. And although the Chief of Police did not come up with this idea himself, he does support it and as with other initiatives proposed by the Mayor (such as the helicopter and CCTV), the Chief has clearly demonstrated a keen sense of political savvy by falling in line with the mayor’s thinking.
Some members of the public view this ‘investment’ as a red herring to distract attention away from the ‘money grab’.
And for those of you that, in your cynicism, thought this might be an election ploy – forget it. The mayor actually thought about this idea last year and the timing of the implementation is strictly a co-incidence.
Much like former President Richard Nixon used to proclaim, “I am not a crook”, Winnipeg’s mayor has repeatedly proclaimed “I am not a politician”. How could any of his actions, therefore, possibly be viewed as politically motivated if he is not a politician?
(Authors note: Actually, it turned out that despite Richard Nixon’s repeated proclamations to the contrary, history showed that he was indeed a crook.)