I strongly disagree with the views of Linda Leclerc, director of operations of the Wakefield Mill Inn and Spa, as quoted by the Low Down’s Madeline Kerr in the Aug. 16-22 edition of this newspaper (“Come for dinner, leave with a hefty fine”). Ms. Leclerc was upset that some of The Mill’s Ontario clients had been ticketed with fines of $499 by MRC Police while their vehicles were parked in The Mill’s parking area — this because of expired registrations of their vehicles.
Ms. Leclerc pointed out that: (a) Ontarians are no longer required to use a sticker to display the date they renewed their license plates; (b) the Ontario government no longer imposes a fee for such renewal; (c) the Ontario government no longer issues a reminder to drivers when it is time to renew.
She then suggests that these administrative changes to Ontario law have made it more difficult for her Ontarian clients to remember to re-register their vehicle licenses before they expire. Moreover, she notes that, while the fine for driving an unregistered vehicle costs $110 in Ontario, the fine is $499 (more than four-and-a-half times) under Quebec law.
It is unclear to me what Ms. Leclerc believes is a reasonable solution to her dilemma.
Perhaps she would like the legislative authorities to amend the Quebec Highway Safety Code [QHSC] and lower the applicable fine to something akin to the Ontario amount. To do that, she would need to justify to the Quebec National Assembly why it is unfair for Quebec fines to be so much higher than those of Ontario.
Perhaps she wants the MRC Police to simply not issue fines to Ontario residents with unregistered vehicles if they are frequenting The Mill or Nordik Spa-Nature (Chelsea). If that exception is implemented by the MRC police, however, in the interests of fairness and equity, they would also have to make an exception for all Quebec unregistered vehicles whose owners frequent those businesses.
And, in either case, would Ms. Leclerc be willing to defend those MRC Police officers who might face incompetence and corruption charges for not enforcing the law as required by the QHSC?
Bottom line for Ms. Leclerc appears to be that ticketing visitors from Ontario (where 50 per cent of The Mill’s clients reside) does not serve her idea of “the public interest” and that the decision “to ticket visitors for an administrative infraction is bad for business.” Those kinds of self-serving statements only underscore Ms. Leclerc’s real position on the issue, i.e. that MRC cops should only enforce the rules in the QHSC that do not adversely affect her Ontario clientele.
As she says, some QHSC rules are bad for her business.