Winnipeg Photo Radar - A City Addicted to Tickets...

The Winnipeg Police Service brought in more money in 2014 than ever before when it comes to photo enforcement — $14+ million. That number is set to explode in multiples higher in 2015.

Winnipeg's "Safer-Streets" program boasts that their countless new Highway Traffic Act changes (specifically the "30 KM" school zones), have been implemented to "Make Us Safer." Sadly, this is a complete lie, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Stemming from a pilot project in Germany, Europe is now taking steps to truly make streets safer, and it isn't through erecting more "Photo-Radar" mobile and stationary units in 30 KM School Zones. In fact, most European cities never adopted any form of Photo Radar due to it be completely removed from common law practices. Photo and video evidence is considered as here-say. A Police officer must issue a ticket and not a machine.

Back in 2012 a German town decided to try something completely different. They went with out-side the box thinking and abolished their traffic lights and codes. A remarkable result occurred. Accidents are now almost non-existent! Traffic flows smoother. People drive slower and are more cautious. The solution is not to add more laws, it is actually the opposite. Remove traffic control devices, and all of the bylaws of the Highway Traffic Act. Then, everything will get safer and faster!

The idea of removing these Highway Codes has caught on in Europe and now many towns are adopting this principle. The result is always the same. The streets become safer, people drive slower relying on eye contact and instincts. Best of all, accidents become mostly non-existent.

Police love this change as well. They can now free their time up to focus on real crimes and dangers that plague communities in Europe. Break and enters are on their way down. Vandalism is down. And, petty crime has also dropped. With the Police free to focus on criminal acts and more dangerous levels of community violence, they're making a far bigger impact upon local crime.

Another area the European Towns and Municipalities are winning from this traffic code change are court costs. Since many Highway Traffic violations are difficult to enforce, these tickets were often taken to court, clogging the municipal court systems for upward over a year. This was costing the cities millions in court fees, (exactly as we are seeing in Winnipeg). The changes to the traffic codes has lifted the burden from the municipal court system and helped save these cities millions.

So then why has Winnipeg taken such a short sighted view toward their implementation of "Safer Streets?" Why have they done the polar opposite of what actually works? The answer may rest upon the Provincial Government and not so much in terms of the City itself.

The Provincial Government in Manitoba collects the revenues from Traffic Tickets. Then, they dole out allocated amounts for the City of Winnipeg. Both the Province and the City are scrambling year over year to increase their revenues. By increasing the fees for traffic violations, they're counting on bringing in the bulk of this money. Sadly, the citizen's aren't complaining loud enough and for the time being the Province is getting away with this.

Through the creation of what seems like a never ending increase in; bus lanes, speed drop zones, (drops from 60km to 50km), red light traffic intersections, 30 km school zones, park zones and on and on... the city hopes to generate greater revenue. Even though these traffic codes and camera systems do nothing to help make the streets safer, the more of them the city adds, the greater their share of the revenue pie.

One major issue the city faces in the years ahead is the ability to find the money to continue funding their public pensions. City of Winnipeg employees have one of the most elaborate pensions known to Canadians. Their pensions top that of both Provincial and Federal Government employees. And, while this is great for all of the retired; Police, Firemen, Councillors and City clerks, it is unfortunately impossible to fund and will be impossible to maintain. In fact, the day of doom for City worker pension plan funding is approaching faster than the city would like.

The Canadian Taxpayers association is warning of a $16-million hit that could affect the city's budget in coming years.

For the past several years, the city has been dawning funds out of its surplus account to pay for pension expenses.

But the fund has dipped from $130 million in 2006 to just $60 million in 2012.

"Once the fund is dry the city will likely be left scrambling to find $16 million (or more) each year to fulfil its pension obligations," said CTF prairie director Colin Craig. "That's the equivalent of about a 3% property tax increase each year."

Craig said the city has indicated it withdrew $16.3 million in 2013 and expects to withdraw about the same in 2014.

"Candidates are currently having trouble finding $20 million annually for the proposed rapid transit expansion," continued Craig. "Well, surprise! They're likely going to have no choice but to start finding $16 million each year to pay for the city's pension plan too. It's pretty clear the taxpayer can't afford everything that council candidates are promising."

The city's 2013 annual report states, "Until recently the Winnipeg Civic Employees' Benefits Program's special-purpose reserves have been used to subsidize the cost of benefits. ... the Program's reserve position is currently insufficient to continue to subsidize the cost of benefits on a sustainable basis."

So, where does this leave us as citizens? The city is going broke and in a desperate attempt to make more money they are finding every which way they can to tax us. This includes Photo Radar and traffic enforcement for petty traffic code violations.

There are a few steps we can take.

#1. Fight EVERY ticket you get in court. Do not pay the fine. Go to court, clog the system and make them work for these petty fines. The fine is not justified in over 50% of the cases anyway. You should easily get away with saving the entire cost of the ticket, (it can be dismissed), or with saving 75% of the ticket fee, (they may not agree with your excuse, but will not make you pay the entire fine, only a small court cost fee of generally $50.00).

Do not waste your time sitting waiting to talk to a "wicket magistrate" at 373 Broadway. You'll get nowhere with them. Go to court. You have the right to an excuse, (it's in the criminal code - # 126 of the Criminal Code).

#2.  Get an inexpensive GPS unit and install the locations (as POI's) of all; speed drops, school zones, red light cameras and speed traps. It's a lot of work to do on your own, but well worth it in the long run. Local business "Winnipeg Photo Radar Predictor" has already done the work for you and for only $39.00 you can buy their POI script for Garmin Nuvi GPS units and avoid any further tickets. You can try using your smartphone, but remember it does not have a direct satellite link like a Garmin, TomTom or Magellan GPS unit. Smartphones will not be as accurate.

#3. Call your local city councillor and complain at least once a month. Send them this article and send them the print-outs of the German town who removed their traffic signals and laws only to discover true safety and better criminal Policing. Let them know that you are really angry about this obvious tax grab and you want these photo-radar units removed.

#4. Learn the law and how it applies to you and traffic tickets. Under common law 50% of the population is not required to pay these fines. No. 126 of the Criminal Code gives us Lawful Excuse and No. 15 of the Criminal Code allows us to disobey a statute. Learn these laws and how they apply to you. Have them printed and hand them out to the next Police officer who pulls you over. You have rights, learn how to fight for them. The Government has made it clear that it is our obligation to inform them of our rights. Section 794 of the Criminal Code states that the Government is under no obligation to inform us of any; exception, exemption, proviso, or excuse. We must come forward and fight for our rights. We have many rights and we can push back.


  1. Peter V. says:

    Just got a school zone ticket for going 41 in a 30. My wife also got one for going 43 in a 30. My mother got one, and so did my boss and so have all of my friends. It seems everyone I speak to is getting these stupid tickets and all at times when there no kids around. My ticket was snapped when the kids were gone from school on spring break. My Mom had a fire-engine behind her blasting their horn. The entire thing the Province is doing is total BS. I will be taking mine to court, its a total cash grab.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I'm going to grab a Garmin and get that software for $39.00. I cannot handle getting another ticket Its out of control in this crappy town. I hate Winnipeg. Sucks and is totally corrupt.

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