Red Deer Advocate from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada on June 23, 2004 · 4
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Red Deer Advocate from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada · 4

Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Issue Date:
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
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COMMENT RED DEER Advocate A4 Wednesday, June 23, 2004 Published by The Red Deer Advocate at 2950 Bremner Ave., Red Deer, Alta., T4N 5G3 Ph. (403) 343-2400 Speeding leaders set grim example The Alberta government is driving us not only to distraction, but into danger. An investigation published in The Edmonton Sun shows that drivers in the government vehicle licet are routinely flouting the law. Some of these drivers are at the highest levels. Half the cars in the governments 70-car executive fleet, for cabinet ministers and senior mandarins, received photo-radar or red light camera tickets in the past two years. Economic Development Minister Mark Norris drives a government-provided Ford Explorer SUV. lie has been ticketed nine times in the past two years, government records released to the Sun under the Freedom of Information Act show. This revelation raised eyebrows in cabinet circles, especially from Transport Minister Ed Stelmach. We should have a look at the history of the individual, Stelmach said. Norris, for his part, didnt seem particularly vexed. lie acknowledged that he is the only dri- ADVOCATE VI EV7 JOE MCLAUGHLIN ver of the SUV "other than the guys who take it for car washes, has paid all the tickets, but didn't really notice how many he was racking up. "Theres not much excuse, Noiris said. With the amount of driving and racing around from meeting to meeting, I am driving too fast. I dont have any excuse for it, nor am I going to make up an excuse. It's bad driving. Nine tickets and he didn't notice? You can bet if there were licence demerits attached to these tickets, he would have noticed long before the newspaper brought this abysmal record to Norriss attention. He would have lost his licence by now. Norris is an understandably busy guy. So is his boss, Premier Ralph Klein, who is much too busy to travel on commercial airlines and relies almost exclusively on the government fleet to get from here to there (and also allows him to smoke while lies in the air, something he could not do in a scheduled commercial airliner). Rusy guys in high circles find reasons to justify their behaviour and surrogates take their cues from those ahead of them in the pecking order. The message Norris and his other repeat-offender colleagues are sending to their employees and to the people of Alberta is unaeceptable. Its showing up in other statistics disclosed by the Sun: 551 photo-radar and red-light tickets were issued to Alberta government vehicles in 2002 and 2003. The worst offenders were those from the Childrens Services Department, which had 95 tickets issued to its 210-vehicle fleet, worth $4,969. More egregiously, almost half of those tickets were issued for violations in school zones and playground zones. Eighteen of the violators were driving more than 20 kmh above the speed limit. Next to Childrens Services, the worst offender was the Solicitor Generals Department, which had 56 tickets in its 170-vehicle fleet. In the worst case document ed, one driver in that fleet was caught driving 142 kmh in an 80 kmh zone on a service road near Calgary. You might think that the departments responsible for children and law enforcement would be the most conscious about driving safely and obeying all the rules of the road. The evidence shows otherwise. Grimly, the full story is even worse than the one exposed by the Sun. It only got the records for tickets issued to government vehicles for photo-radar and red-light camera violations in 2002 and 2003. Who knows how many more were issued to government employees in regular radar traps and from cops patrolling the highways? Those violations wouldnt show up in this report because they would have been issued directly to the drivers. Whatever the full record shows, its unacceptable. Speed kills. Thats a message that has to come down, with no equivocation, from the very top. Joe McLaughlin Advocate managing editor. LETTERS Pornography fuels violent sex crimes A rallying cry arose against child pornography when Michael Briere confessed to snatching 10-year-old Holly Jones from a Toronto street, sexually assaulting and strangling her, before leaving her dismembered body in a river. It was later revealed that moments before that, he had become sexually aroused from child porn. He wept, saying, I have failed as a human being. I dont know how it is for other people, but I would say that viewing such material does motivate you to do other things. The more I saw it, the more I longed for it in my heart. Immediately following, there were pleas for tougher laws against child porn. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has every right to ask, How tough is Paul Martin on child porn? Various studies, including a report by Toronto police, show that child porn plays a part in 40 per cent of sex offences against children. Canada's reputation was damaged when British Columbias Robin Sharpe chal lenged Canadas laws in B.C.s lower court, claiming artistic merit in child porn. Albertas Anne McLellan, then justice minister, refused to implement the Reform Partys proposal to use the notwithstanding clause, despite the fact that 70 Liberal MPs presented a petition urging its use. Now, following a ruling later by Supreme Court, police and prosecutors have to prove that there is no artistic merit in child porn. In the meantime, closer to home, Red Deer families are paralyzed with fear as RCMP send out notices by way of schools as far as Sylvan Lake and by going door to door, warning that two dangerous sex offenders who have committed multiple offences and are at high risk to attack again have been released into Red Deer. The upcoming election is extremely important. We must decide if we want a government that seems to be soft on crime. Our vote deserves serious consideration. Audrey Jensen Red Deer Canada Pension Plan funding arms industry? It was shocking to read the following a few months ago. The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade has revealed that the Canadian Pension Plan, to which citizens are obligated to contribute, invests heavily in the arms industry. Some 16 miilion Canadians have contributed to, or benefit-ted from, the CPP which has invested at least $2.55 billion in domestic and foreign military corporations, including 15 of the world's top 20 war contractors. The weaponry that these investments have yielded include anti-personal land mines, cluster bombs, fire bombs, explo- An Avibras Astros II artillery rocket system launches an SS-30 unguided surface-to-surface rocket. sive bombs, and several types of cruise missiles. Thats your money and my money helping to produce these devices that blow arms and legs off people every day in war-torn countries! Maybe our pensions benefit, but at what cost? How ironic, when a few years ago Canada championed banning the land mines. Maybe this last paragraph explains the complacency of most MPs, who voted to defeat an NDP motion on Feb. 24 to change this situation: Between 1996-2002, military corporations donated at least $7.9 million to the Liberal, Progressive Conservative, Reform and Alliance Parties. Money overrules convictions? Betty Weenink Lacombe Shameful campaign tactics abound The mistake by Conservative publicists on Friday claiming in a news release that Paul Martin supports child pornography will not only have zero downside for Stephen Harpers campaign, it could actually help it. And thats a shame. Both the Grits and Tories have so-called war rooms, groups of supporters who put out news releases and provide instant reaction to the information coming out of the other party. The offensive headline and release alleged weakness on the issue of child porn a legitimate area of discussion. The thing is, everyones onside with the anti-porn fight. Only criminals are pro-porn. To allege that the prime minister supports these acts is sleazy. Unfortunately, this type of unfounded allegation, more prevalent south of the border, is not only showing up in Canada, its successful, too. The gentle discourse and debate of past years is out in favour of a no-holds-barred free-for-all, where you can kick, pull hair and gouge eyes. All is forgiven if you win. For their part, the Liberals have upped the level of negative rhetoric by accusing Harper of plotting, among other things, out to destroy medicare. Our government health system is as dear to us as Tim Hortons coffee. With hospital stays running hundreds of dollars a day and $10,000 surgeries potentially bankrupting families without our national health care system, any politician, who dares to gut medicare would go down to a bigger de feat than John Turner or Kim Campbell. Ralph Klein wants to fine-tune the system the voters will rule on his fi-. ture, depending on the details scheduled to be released next week. In the increasingly ugly world of what passes for campaign debate, the Liberals and NDP accused the Tories of eviscerating official bilingualism by challenging the old-fashioned idea that Air Canada must continue to act as a Crown corporation when its actually a publicly traded company losing mon-, ey faster than oilsands plants make it. The Tories have a good idea here; they could help the airline regain its footing by cutting unnecessary red tape and starting from the same base as WestJet and Jetsgo. Lets hope this final week of electioneering has all parties telling us about their policies instead of attacking their opponents. Thats the type of campaign Canadians want. From an editorial in Fort McMurray Today Central Alberta's Daily Newspaper Published at 2950 Bremner Avenue, Red Deer, Alberta by The Red Deer Advocate Ltd. Canadian Publications Agreement 336602 Member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation Fred Gorman Publisher Joe McLaughlin Managing Editor Wayne Porter Advertising Manager Allan Melbourne CirculationPromotions Manager Derek Olinek Production Manager Dan Relkow BusinessBuilding Manager Main switchboard 343-2400 News News tips (business hours) 314-4325 News tips (night line) 314-4333 Sports line 343-2244 News fax 341-6560 E-mail: Joe McLaughlin, Managing editor 314-4328 John Stewart, News editor 314-4342 Carolyn Martindale, City editor 314-4326 Chris Simnett, Sports editor 3144365 Harley Richards, Business editor 314-4337 Carl Hahn, Life editor 3144336 Web site: Advertising Main number: 314-4343 Fax: 342-4051 E-mail: Classified ads: 309-3300 Classified e-mail: Alberta Press Council member The Advocate is a sponsoring member of the Alberta Press Council. The council meets publicly four times a year to adjudicate complaints against member newspapers. Readers with a complaint about ony part of the Advocate should first contact the editor or advertising manager. If the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction, a written complaint should be filed to the Alberta Press Council at P.O. Box 21067, Edmonton, T6R 2V4. Phone: 1-780-434-9998. Fax: 1-7084354441. Web site: Publisher's notice The Publisher reserves the right to edit or reject any advertising copy; to omit or discontinue any advertisement. The advertiser agrees that the Publisher shall not be liable for damages arising out of error in advertisements beyond the amount paid for the space actually occupied by that portion of the advertisement in which the error occurs. Circulation 314-4300 Daily (Monday through Saturday) carrier delivery: Monthly $13; prepaid, six months $76.44; yearly $152.88 Motor and mail delivery available

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