Election complaints and their effect
Saturday, Jul 05, 2014 06:00 am
The St. Albert Gazette’s efforts to get more information about two complaints filed with the City of St. Albert didn’t quite turn out as productive as this newspaper hoped.
The FOIP request garnered a few letters with CIA-style blacked-out sections and really didn’t shed much light on the issue of third-party financial assistance during last fall’s municipal election. It has opened old wounds from the election with no discernable benefit.
According to the city, sections of the complaints were blacked out, and identities withheld, because a section of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act disallows the public identification of the complainants. The city also redacted the names of candidates that had been subject of complaints during the campaign as a result of their endorsement (solicited or not) by the St. Albert Think Tank, a partisan group that ran on an anti-Nolan Crouse platform.
A photo of a portable sign which stood next to St. Albert Trail during the election was included in the document package. The sign listed the candidates endorsed by the Think Tank and all those names had also been blacked out – even though the sign had been clearly visible on the busiest route in the city for many days. In effect, the redaction really only protected the identities of the complainants, while essentially exposing the candidates promoted by the Think Tank.
Given that the city can’t really do much about the complaints anyway (except inform those who were the targets) it makes us question the ultimate value of filing the complaints in the first place.
The talk of the nation this week has been B.C.’s announcement of higher speed limits on multi-lane highways, especially the popular Coquihalla. Inevitably, the conversation will turn to two subjects, including whether Alberta should follow suit, and whether higher speed limits mean more mayhem.
The question of whether higher speed limits result in more death and destruction has a surprising answer. Parallel to B.C.’s reasoning, the National Motorist Association south of the border states, “Numerous studies have shown that the 85th percentile is the safest possible level at which to set a speed limit. This would allow the police to easily separate the serious violators from the reasonable majority,” Well said.
The B.C. government says the 85th percentile of motorists on certain roads drive at 120 km/h. It’s time the Alberta government looks at busy multi-lane roads like Highway 2 and 16 and give serious thought to boosting the limit which, to be honest, is ignored by thousands motorists on those two busy routes every day.