By Tammy Flores
December 4th, 2013 Edition
Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the mobility rights of Canadian Citizens. It was established to keep Canada united. Section 6.2 gives us the right to move to any province and gain livelihood in any province. As I understand the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the spirit is to improve people socially and economically, not have a private company, impede that. By giving the 407ETR the ability to place a person in “Plate Denial” without any proof whatsoever that “lawful” charges exist is a breach to our freedom of mobility.
Has Ontario lost their way? Has Ontario decided that big business is more important than the quality of life of their people? Ontario has decided that 407ETR’s success is in the public interest. Ontario has refused to hold accountable this company for breaching our rights to freedoms to mobility. By continuing to turn a blind eye this company smacks of a government sanctioned monopoly. That would lead us down the road to fascism not democracy. It is up to us to protect our democratic rights!
Nobody should ever have to pay fees or interest on a bill over a mailing error. It is not up to the public to make sure this company is operating their business properly. 407ETR has always had access to MTO’s database, but up until 2010, the company simply choose not to access it to make sure they were billing the correct person at the correct address. They should not be rewarded for their failings in operating this highway.
Currently there is no accountability on how this company is tolling. A study is required on how much money is actually made from tolls versus interest charges and fees and also the financial feasibility of a private corporation operating and maintaining our highways based on the consumer price index. Without such studies, the question should be asked if we are supporting corporate welfare.
Kevin Sack, 407ETR’s VP of Communication and Government Relations told us that they are in the business of collecting tolls, not fees and interest. If this statement is true they have an accountability to us, the people, to prove it and our government should legislate them into it.
407ETR has increased peak rates from $.1625/KM in 2006 to $.262/KM in 2013. This represents a 61.23% increase. According to the Bank of Canada, the consumer price index for 2006-2013 was 12.11%. If 407ETR adjusted their rates based on CPI, tolls should be only $.1822/KM. That is a difference of $.08/KM.
Think about it. The average trip length is 20.5 KM times that by 2 and you would get 41 KM/day times that by 235 working days/year and the average commuter is paying $771 more per year according to the consumer price index. If you add to that the interest and fees 407ETR arbitrarily tacks on … you get consumers being gouged! This is worse than double taxation because not only do we pay for our roads and highways through the gas tax, tire tax, etc.… but now we are paying a premium just to get to our jobs, not just if we travel on 407ETR, but on all the other vital arteries and highways because their model is flawed and causes more congestion on other travel routes. It’s a breach of our rights to mobility.
We have to stand up for our rights! We cannot allow a government sanctioned monopoly to interfere with our social and economic quality of life. It’s time to reign in 407ETR once and for all. We can do it! Please sign and share our petition http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/change-the-407act