Posts Tagged ‘law’

Are You a Jackass Driver?

August 25, 2008

photoToday’s rant is courtesy of the dolt driving the pickup who decided to verbally harass me at Commissioners/Adelaide this afternoon. “Get off the road!” he yelled, as I proceeded westward from the pedestrian island to the N.W. corner.

As you can see from the photo (click to get an enlarged high-res version) it’s one of the channelized intersections (rounded corners and pedestrian islands) which allow drivers to take the corners at speed. This jackass didn’t care that I had the legal right-of-way (the pedestrian signal said “Walk” and I had been standing there waiting for it before he came along). All he cared about was that he had to stop, instead of going around the corner like a maniac.

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Is Cyberbullying A Crime?

July 13, 2008

 “Emily Noble, president of the [Canadian Teachers’ Federation], said people are using online programs to harass, threaten and spread rumours.”

Source:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/07/12/cyberbullying.html

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Fined For Walking?

March 13, 2008

First there was a letter to the LFP editor (‘Too Lazy to Use Sidewalk’; ‘jeff’; 2008/03/09) from one of those dull pencils who think that nothing should be allowed to inconvenience automobile drivers and that pedestrians are some kind of 2nd class lifeform: “I looked in the opposite lanes to see a person walking, head down up the road…because they were too lazy to break a trail down the sidewalk.”

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D-I-Y Litigation Video

March 4, 2008

Produced by the Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch… a how-to video 01 on presenting or defending your civil claim. It is about 25 minutes in length, and uses common types of courtroom disputes to explain the kinds of evidence you may need for your case as well as how to organize and present that evidence to the judge. 02

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Why Bother Having a Fire Code?

February 26, 2008

As a result of the 2008/01/10 Limberlost Road condominium fire that sent a man and his wife to hospital in critical condition, and a teenaged son in serious condition, the London man plead guilty for failing to provide at least one smoke alarm on each story of his home as required by the Fire Code. And received probation.

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London’s 2008 Police Budget Debate

February 21, 2008

I said it when I went before London’s CAPS Committee in 2002. I’ve said it many times since then. And now I’ll say it again…
London does not have enough police officers!

Police strength in Canada is well below that in many other industrialized nations. For example, police strength ranges from 222-270 officers per 100,000 population in the United States, Australia, and England and Wales. Police strength in Canada peaked at 206 officers for every 100,000 population in 1975. And of the 25 largest communities Census Metropolitan Areas (by population) in Canada, London’s police strength ranks way down (tied in 14th place with 7 others). 01

Appended 2008/02/24: Based on StatsCan cities-only data that I’ve now found, London’s police strength is actually in the middle of the pack from that more specific perspective. However, as I previously suggested, simply focusing on that stat is misleading (read on).

But that kind of comparison doesn’t tell the whole story, does it? My common sense tell me that the communities that need the most police, are those that have the most males aged 15-24 (approx).

Based on my crunching of the CMA numbers that I got from the StatsCan website, of those same 25 communities, London ranks 7th in terms of the number of males aged 15-24 per capita. And then I crunched the CMA numbers again, and I determined that London only ranks 20th out of 25 when you compare the # of police that we have with the number of males aged 15-24 that we have. 02

Appended 2008/02/24: Based on my crunching of the cities-only numbers that I got from the StatsCan website, London ranks 6th in terms of the number of males aged 15-24 per capita. And then I crunched the cities-only numbers again, and I determined that London ranks 14th when you compare the # of police that we have with the number of males aged 15-24 that we have. 03 Admittedly, not as bad a picture as was painted by the CMA data, but not a good picture by any stretch of the imagination either (if my premise is correct).

sshhhHowever, I do agree with those members of Council who are complaining about the lack of transparency. I think that all of the city’s Boards and Commissions that I’ve had any dealings with are too secretive. Like HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and…

Appended 2008/02/21: Coun. Nancy Branscombe is reportedly complaing that Council members weren’t given a copy of the police budget, and Police Chief Murray Faulkner is reported to have said that “all 62 pages…” of the police budget was provided “…to city administrators”03 The drama unfolds…

Appended 2008/02/22: Can this get any more interesting? Jeff Fielding and Vic Cote are reportedly denying that the city administration ever received a line-by-line budget from the police. 04 So, all that’s clear at this point is that someone isn’t telling the truth.

Sources:
01. 2007/11/16 – The Daily: Police personnel and expenditures
02. 2008/02/20 – FMBS: CMA spreadsheet data
03. 2008/02/20 – FMBS: cities-only spreadsheet data
04. 2008/02/21 – LFP: Secrecy claims raise ire of chief
05. 2008/02/22 – LFP: 4.4 percent

Other Links:
2008/02/04 – FMBS: Jonathan Sher’s Police Budget Half-Truth

Stepping on Cannabis, Worse than Doggy Doo

February 8, 2008

If you have any plans to visit or simply pass through the UAE, you might want to rethink them.

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N.Vancouver Drive-Thru Ban?

January 22, 2008

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After debating Sam Schechter‘s motion that was on last night’s City of North Vancouver agenda, the feasibility of restricting any new drive-thru’s was referred back to staff for more review.

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Mid-Block Street Crossing

January 22, 2008

You may get charged here for speeding or driving without a seatbelt fastened. But it seems to me that when you strike a pedestrian with a vehicle, most often you don’t even get a traffic ticket.

   Jan 21, 2008
   MEDIA RELEASE

   London Police laid nearly 200 charges in and around school areas 
   during the two week “Back to School” traffic initiative to raise 
   awareness to motorists that pedestrians are back using the 
   sidewalks and roadways.  The majority (140) were for speeding 
   while the other violations were made up of stop sign charges, 
   seatbelt charges and document charges once the vehicles were 
   stopped. 

   During the campaign there were 4 collisions involving students 
   walking to or from school.  The most serious one was the 
   17 yr old Saunders student who suffered a broken leg when he 
   crossed illegally at an intersection and was struck by a car with 
   the right of way.  The student was charged. Another 15 yr old 
   was slightly injured running into the side of a vehicle.  
   No charges were laid in that case. 

   Two other pedestrians were struck by cars that failed to remain 
   at the collisions and although these students didn’t suffer 
   injuries the motorists should have remained at the scene.  

   Motorists are asked to continue to watch for the unpredictable 
   behaviour of pedestrians.  “Anticipate the unexpected” might be 
   a good theme for motorists. 

   Sgt. Tom O’Brien
   Traffic Management Unit
   London Police Service

Let’s not forget Sgt. O’Brien’s proposed by-law amendment which would further erode the rights of pedestrians. Is it unfair to suggest that there may be some vested interest at play here, and that spinning vehicle-pedestrian collissions like this enhances the likelihood of the proposal’s adoption by City Council?

In “Jaywalk This Way” (NOW Magazine; 2006/07/13) author Dylan Reid asks, “why does the term ‘jaywalking’ exist, and why do we feel that crossing away from an intersection is somehow wrong?”

Although increasing numbers of “me first” drivers has given rise to a popular misconception that pedestrians are only entitled to cross the road at signalized intersections, that is simply not true. As I’ve pointed out before, walking is a natural right, whereas driving an automobile is simply a legislated priviledge which carries responsibilities with it.

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA) says nothing about pedestrians crossing the street in the middle of a block where there’s no traffic light, crosswalk or stop sign…” And the article attributes Constable Lee Bishop (Toronto Police Services) as saying that “if it’s not in the HTA, it’s allowed” and points out that “the only significant obligation in the HTA for those crossing mid-block is that, if there is a traffic signal or crosswalk close by, pedestrians have to use it.”

Even that last part isn’t carved in stone, since “the act doesn’t specify the distance in question.”

But more importantly, we need to examine the implied suggestion that motorists aren’t at fault because pedestrian behaviour was suspect. Even if you accept the fact that a pedestrian may have acted in a manner which led to a collission, does that mean that motorists have a ‘green light’ to run them down? Isn’t there a legal expectation that a motorist must take every reasonable action to avoid colliding with a pedestrian?

Before contemplating any further erosion of pedestrian rights, we must take an equally hard look at driver’s behaviour, enforcement & investigation by police, and even possible culpability by City Hall. And yes, I am referring once again to the complete inaction by City Hall after receiving the police report about the dangerous intersection at Commissioners & Pond Mills. Because the fact is, it’s often much safer for pedestrians to cross mid-block (provided that reasonable precaution is taken) than it is to cross at a signalized intersection.

I had the opportunity to address Councillor’s Caranci and Miller at the last meeting of the Glen Cairn & Pond Mills Community Association, and I have requested delegate status at the February meeting of CSCP. I’ll keep you posted.

Links:
Highway Traffic Act, Ontario
2001/03/ – TLC: Everybody Targets Walkers
2006/02/22 – Maisonneuve: The Truth About Jaywalking
2006/03/13 – Messy Diversity: Is jaywalking good for cities?

Civil ‘Justice’ Reform Project

January 15, 2008


Here’s a media release from the office of Ontario’s Attorney General. Read the first paragraph, but I’m not sure that you have to go any further than that.

   TORONTO, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - Ontario is looking for input from legal
associations, lawyers and judges on how to make the civil justice system
faster and less expensive.
    "Our goal is to help Ontarians resolve disputes faster with lower costs
by simplifying the civil justice system," said Attorney General Chris Bentley.
    Bentley is holding focussed discussions in communities across Ontario
following the release of the Civil Justice Reform Project: Summary of Findings
and Recommendations, a commissioned report from the Honourable Coulter
Osborne.
    The Attorney General will begin his tour today in Toronto, and continue
over the next two months with stops in a number of communities across the
province.
    In November 2007, the government released Mr. Osborne's
81 recommendations touching on 18 areas of procedural and substantive law,
including small claims, trial management, appeals, technology, civility,
unrepresented litigants and proportionality.
    To develop his recommendations, Mr. Osborne carried out province-wide
consultations, researched reforms in other jurisdictions, struck three
advisory committees and reviewed over 100 submissions.
    The summary report is available on the ministry's website in both French
and English at www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca.
    Public comment on the Civil Justice Reform Project: Summary of Findings
and Recommendations can be sent to attorneygeneral@ontario.ca.
    "Our civil justice system exists to serve the people of Ontario," added
Bentley. "I'm interested in hearing how Mr.Osborne's recommendations will
improve the speed and affordability of our system."

Quebec Town Bans Plastic Bags

January 5, 2008

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A new Huntingdon P.Q. bylaw prohibits retail outlets from distributing plastic bags, advertisers from delivering fliers in plastic bags, and residents from lining their garbage bins with green plastic bags.

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Monteith Appointed Citizenship Judge

December 20, 2007

mug shotOntario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Diane Finley, announced on Tuesday that Russ Monteith has been appointed as a citizenship judge for a 3-year, part-time term.

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British Cellphone Crackdown

December 20, 2007

Although the use of cellphones while operating an automobile was outlawed in Britain in 2003, it’s estimated that “half a million motorists flout the ban each day.”

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Fast-Car Ads Hit Quebec Roadblock

December 18, 2007

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An amendment to Quebec’s Bill 42 (highway safety) would “give the provincial auto insurance board the mandate to come up with guidelines to ban [car] ads that depict ‘heedless, careless or dangerous behaviour and gestures’ “ and more.

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South Winds’ Guilty Plea

December 17, 2007

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The Corporation of The City of London
December 17, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A London company has committed to a long term 
reforestation program as a result of charges under 
City of London tree conservation bylaw.

In Provincial Court in London this morning, 
South Winds Development Inc. pleaded guilty to 
charges related to an incident earlier this year. 
The firm was fined $2,500.00 with an additional 
$7,500.00 being earmarked to Reforest London. 
In addition to those funds the company 
voluntarily committed to a five year, 
$5,000.00 a year donation to Reforest London 
for thousands of seedlings and trees to be planted 
in areas determined by the volunteer group.

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