Following a presentation by Toronto Mayor John Tory at Queens Park this week, all three major Ontario party leaders have indicated their willingness to have a discussion about allowing municipalities to use photo radar. The change, which would require an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act, is favoured by some municipal leaders who argue that it would improve public safety, free-up police officers from mundane traffic-management tasks, while providing municipalities with badly needed revenue.
It’s also surprisingly popular among citizens. A recent Forum poll found that 49 percent of respondents approve of photo radar-a slight increase from previous polling done by Forum in 2013:
Do you approve or disapprove of photo radar?
Premier Kathleen Wynne:
“I look forward to getting the formal request from the mayor. This is a request that’s coming from the City of Toronto. In terms of the broader discussion, that discussion is going on right now in terms of costs of policing across the province. What I said before is, these concerns and these requests have to come from the municipalities.”
Patrick Brown, Leader of the Official Opposition:
“The reality is, municipalities are desperately looking at new funding mechanisms because of underfunding. The reality is, this provincial government cut infrastructure funding to municipalities, and they’re forced to look at different ways to collect revenue…I’m never going to be dead-set against anything without actually reading the proposal first and seeing specifics.”
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the NDP:
“I know my own municipality of Hamilton has raised it as well, and sent a letter to the premier asking for photo radar on one of our major highways, called the Linc. Obviously, municipalities are concerned about the speed of traffic within their boundaries and they’re looking for solutions.”