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.