Traffic tickets can be expensive

By: By Allen King

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 12:13 pm

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In the province of Quebec, traffic tickets are printed in both the official languages English and French.

In Alberta, traffic tickets are printed only in English.

The writing of traffic tickets in both official languages in Alberta, is not necessary because there was and is no mention of any other language but English incorporated in our constitutional papers when Alberta was created in 1905.

In 2003, one Gilles Caron, who I assume is bilingual and whom I assume was originally a resident of Quebec or possibly New Brunswick and makes his living as a driver, was charged in Alberta with failing to make a left turn safely.

He complained at the time and has been complaining ever since that the ticket was only printed in English.

Pierre Boulet was charged in Alberta with speeding sometime in 2003 and has adopted the same attitude as has Mr. Caron. As mentioned above, the printing of traffic tickets in both languages is not legally mandated in Alberta. Mr. Caron has since filed a lawsuit against the Alberta Government demanding the traffic ticket be issued in both official languages.

Moreover, the French Canadian Association of Alberta, has taken up their cause (both Caron and Boulet) and has championed these two individuals with their legal action assisting them with their lawsuit against the government.

When the case went to trial, it was conducted entirely in French, spoken by all parties involved, including the crown prosecutor, the defence counsel and the judge. Alberta Court of Appeal decided against Mr.. Caron holding that his complaints were unfounded. Incidentally, Mr.. Caron has not paid his fine of around $100.00 to date.

Sometime between 2003 and 2011 it was found that Mr.. Caron had largely exhausted his available resources, and an Alberta provincial court judge ordered the Crown to pay of Mr.. Caron’s legal fees from thereon forward including those charged by the “experts” asked to testify on his behalf.

Subsequently, the Court of Queen’s Bench quashed the trial judge’s order.

However, in 2007, the superior court appeared to contradict itself, by issuing an interim order that expert fees charged by witnesses to be paid by the Crown for the duration of the trial, anticipated to last from May 22 to June 15,[2007].

In October 19, 2007, the Court of Queen’s Bench issued an additional order, requiring the Crown to pay all of Mr.. Caron’s legal costs for the surrebuttal (giving of evidence to refute the defendants rebutter, basically, the balance of the trial) component of the trial. Guess who is paying for all of this? Albertans that is who! It would appear that the traffic violation is lost in all of this.

I would wonder just how far an Albertan would get in the same situation in Quebec. Besides, it seems very unlikely that an Albertan would have received any legal/monetary assistance if one of attempted this in Quebec.

Was Mr. Caron mistreated or abused in any fashion?

If not, then he should finance his own court appearances, pay his fine and move on.

I feel that the court system in Alberta has been most lenient on this man, and perhaps far too accommodating as well. It almost appears that this case might eventually for before the Supreme Court of Canada, and should it rule so, all of our laws here in Alberta (and arguably in every other province ) will have to be written in both official languages.

Should this come about, that our laws have to be bilingual, it will create a great cost for Alberta and for what? The majority of Albertans were and have been satisfied with the laws written in English for some 109 years.

If we have to change those laws to be read in both English and French, I would argue that the likely substantial cost for doing so would be deducted from our transfer payments to Ottawa.

By the way, to my knowledge, Mr. Caron has still not paid his traffic ticket fine.


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