Canada: Lawsuit Targets Winnipeg Speed Camera Vendors

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

Canadian activists are turning to the courts to stop the controversial photo radar program in Winnipeg. On Thursday, the Road Safety Awareness Group filed a claim in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench seeking the refund of $177 million CAD in tickets issued, plus additional damages. The suit names city and provincial officials as well as Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), the Dallas-based contractor that runs the program; its predecessor, Lockheed Martin IMS; and Gatsometer BV, the Dutch company that makes the speed camera equipment. Rather than focus on legal issues, the suit attempts to expose the unseemly manner in which the photo radar program was approved by the province of Manitoba in 2002 and implemented in Winnipeg the following year. The suit argues that ACS and Lockheed used bogus safety and financial statistics to convince officials to use the company as its sole vendor. The program happened to be quite useful to the companies’ other business lines.

“Lockheed and ACS conspired to gain access to and collect private citizens’ data through the operation of the photo radar scheme and/or by processing of traffic act violations,” the suit claimed. “Under a separate government services contract, particulars of which are unknown, Lockheed and/or ACS developed and installed a proprietary computer system for court services that controls court registry functions including data processing and electronic storage for the criminal and civil courts and data sharing with the justice department. The former executive director of Manitoba Justice Court Services, Brad Janzen, assisted ACS to implement the new system while employed by the government. Brad Janzen is now employed by ACS as a program manager.”

The suit claims that ACS uses this private information to help the company’s profitable debt collection services. ACS, for example, has a contract with 24 states to track down delinquent child support payments and the US Department of Education to find students who have failed to pay their loans on time. The group argues that this violates Canada’s privacy statutes. In 2006, ACS was charged with bribing police officers in connection with its photo radar contract in Edmonton, although a judge later dismissed the case.

Between 2003 and 2008, Winnipeg’s cameras mailed out a total of 886,108 citations worth $177 million.

“The plaintiffs say that they and all other similarly situated Manitoban motorists have been harmed and have suffered real and substantial injury, economic loss and damages arising from the malicious acts, omissions, unlawful and bad faith conduct by the defendants, particularly defendant ACS and defendant Lockheed,” the suit concludes. “Further particulars of the bad faith will be provided at trial.”

A copy of the lawsuit is available in a 50k PDF file at the source link below.

Statement of Claim (Road Safety Awareness Group, 7/16/2009)

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  • Thebanana Thebanana on Jul 19, 2009

    The issue of photo radar in Manitoba has nothing to do with public insurance. In fact, the provincial NDP government was not enthusiastic about bringing in photo radar, but Winnipeg's mayor and council put a lot of pressure on them to pass it, especially for implementation in construction zones where a number of workers had been injured or killed. Photo radar doesn't exist in towns/cities outside of Winnipeg.

  • Clive Clive on Jul 19, 2009

    I live in Winnipeg and have been nabbed twice, once by "fixed" red light photo radar at an intersection, and once by one of the unmarked vehicles that park around the city waiting for speeders and are "portable" photo radar equipped. You quickly learn not to speed through intersections with fixed photo radar, and in neighborhoods the portable units like to park in. I honk or give 'em the finger if I see them, but that's probably a ticketable offense, too. I disagree with the whole idea, and will be sending a large donation to the Road Safety Awareness Group. Corruption knows no borders.

  • MaintenanceCosts "But your author does wonder what the maintenance routine is going to be like on an Italian-German supercar that plays host to a high-revving engine, battery pack, and several electric motors."Probably not much different from the maintenance routine of any other Italian-German supercar with a high-revving engine.
  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.
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