Big brother alive, well, highly profitable - Macleans.ca
 

Big brother alive, well, highly profitable


 

Ages and ages ago I wrote a column wondering why the powers that be spent so much money on street cameras to scare drug dealers, harass hookers and comfort the paranoid, and not on cameras to scare speeders, harass red light dodgers and comfort pedestrians. Someone must have been asking themselves the same question; last August, the Quebec government instituted a pilot project in Quebec targeting some of the biggest trouble spots in Montreal and Quebec City. You practically have to be blind (or talking on your phone, another no-no) to miss the warnings. Still, people do:  nearly 24,000 tickets were mailed  out in five months, to the tune of nearly $4 million. That’s $10 million in a year in revenues from a pilot project–which is set to expand further across the province in the coming year.

Meanwhile, drug dealers remain one of Berri Metro’s most consistent charms, cameras and residents be damned. Sometimes big brother doesn’t quite work. But when he does, boy, he pays off big.


 
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Big brother alive, well, highly profitable

  1. Are you decrying speeding/red light cameras? If you don’t approve of the laws being enforced, then you should lobby to repeal the law.

    • A pointless exercise: increasing a speed limit is next to impossible, regardless of logic or reason. Somewhat like most vice laws, all anyone has to do is ask what message is being sent and all is lost.

  2. I was wondering why everyone was only doing 70 on the Bonaventure the other day, until I noticed the camera warnings. I guess a lot of people don't look at signs

  3. "You practically have to be blind (or talking on your phone, another no-no) to miss the warnings."

    Sometimes there are too many signs and people tune them out. They are doing tests in Europe where most/all traffic signs are removed.

    "Psychologists have long revealed the senselessness of such exaggerated regulation. About 70 percent of traffic signs are ignored by drivers. What's more, the glut of prohibitions is tantamount to treating the driver like a child and it also foments resentment."

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,151

  4. "You practically have to be blind (or talking on your phone, another no-no) to miss the warnings."

    Sometimes there are too many signs and people tune them out. They are doing tests in Europe where most/all traffic signs are removed.

    "Psychologists have long revealed the senselessness of such exaggerated regulation. About 70 percent of traffic signs are ignored by drivers. What's more, the glut of prohibitions is tantamount to treating the driver like a child and it also foments resentment."

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,151

  5. "Sometimes big brother doesn't quite work. But when he does, boy, he pays off big."

    Exactly right. And let's call this what it is, government corruption pure and simple. There is no actual intention to stop speeding here; it's just another revenue stream. You may remember the mayor of Gatineau a few years ago who complained that the Sûreté weren't doing their job because revenues were down. Everyone knows this is fraud and it erodes our respect for bot the laws and the governments that pass them.

    • I call BS. They have big signs warning you about the cameras. Anyone who gets nabbed deserves it, plain and simple.

    • What?

      Forcing people who break the law to pay the consequences of breaking the law is "government corruption" and "fraud"???

      Frankly, I don't even care if there's no intent to stop speeding. Punishing people who speed is plenty of rationale for me. If you break the law you have to pay the price of breaking the law. It would be nice if said price also had the effect of lowering the number of people who break the law, but if it doesn't, so what? I'd love for our laws to lead to a reduction in crime and other violations of the law, and reduction and rehabilitation are very important aspects of the justice system, but so is punishment. If you don't want to have to pay a speeding ticket, don't speed. Certainly, if you decide to speed anyway, suck it up and pay the ticket. You got caught. Too bad, so sad.

  6. Oh, how I love this argument. Drivers (theoretically) know the laws and they know the potential penalties for violating them. Most are happy to pay the fine without incurring the licence threatening/insurance raising demerits; a self-selected few feel the need to bitch about the injustice of it all.

  7. I believe the experiences in England with CCTV cameras shows that those aimed at nabbing drug dealers, pickpockets, graffiti artists etc. is a Large waste of time/money, not to mention being weird to have someone watching/recording daily life like that.

  8. That’s nothing. The Swiss hit a single guy for $300,000 for speeding.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/748860–swiss-driver-hit-with-300-000-speeding-ticket

    Which I think is good. Why should only poor people feel pain when they get caught speeding? We should resurrect the principle of fines being based on income or accrued wealth so it hurts financially for everyone.

    Of course, the relentless war on speed means I will never get to cruise around recklessly in a fast car with only a small fine to worry about. By the time I can afford a car that can reach ludicrous speeds, there will be a speed camera every 20 feet. While I applaud public safety, I must admit that it makes me feel a little wistful (and emasculated).