Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

MPI crosses line

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The results of CAA's day at school -- tracking drivers who do stupid things near schoolyards and playgrounds -- indicate Winnipeg police should be patrolling some school zones, cracking down on imprudent motorists.

But the exercise, in which Winnipeg officers witnessed numerous infractions and incidents of dangerous driving, is being used by the NDP government and MPI to justify using premiums to pay police to monitor traffic in school zones. Bad idea.

MPI has a habit of subsidizing policing costs for dedicated enforcement efforts, which muddies the cost, responsibility and accountability of municipal policing and its budgets. Police should be in school zones where motorists pose a threat to children because protecting public safety is their job, not because MPI and the NDP government deem the issue an insurance priority.

Bad drivers who imperil lives with their dangerous habits should be penalized by fines and demerits or criminal sanction. MPI says the cost is a trifle and will barely be noticed by ratepayers, but using premiums to move police resources for the priorities of government and its agencies is fraught with problems. It blurs the interests of discrete public offices. The Public Utilities Board should reject this program when deciding MPI's latest rate application.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 13, 2013 A10

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