Debbie McKee left Red Deer to return to Ontario in her grey 1992 Ford Taurus about 20 years ago. She hasn’t been back since.
So it was a big surprise to the Belleville, Ont., resident when she learned after receiving a notice from the Canada Revenue Agency last October that any income tax refund or credits she had coming would be applied to an outstanding debt first.
That outstanding debt was for a photo radar ticket issued in Red Deer in 2011, tied to the plates she had at the time, on a grey car. The photo radar ticket had her correct address on Howlett Avenue when she lived in Red Deer, but she only lived here six to eight months before returning to Ontario in late 1997 or early 1998.
McKee said she hasn’t owned the car for at least 10 years and it was never back in Alberta. After McKee and her family moved back east, they soon switched back to Ontario plates for insurance purposes. At some point she disposed of the Alberta plates in Ontario, long before 2011. The photo radar ticket was issued on Oct. 24, 2011.
McKee said the Taurus was eventually sold to her brother who drove it in Ontario for awhile and then it went to the wrecker’s.
“Why would I drive a 19-year-old vehicle to Alberta? It doesn’t make sense.” She’s prepared to prove her residency in Ontario through records.
McKee said the ticket, which she never received, was for $147 in 2011 and is now about $170 with interest. But it’s the principle that irks her most, as she believes the ticket is an error.
“I would gladly pay it if it happened in 1997,” she said. Red Deer never had photo radar until 2000.
McKee has tried in several ways to have the ticket dismissed. She’s called the City of Red Deer photo radar co-ordinator, provincial Alberta Fine Enforcement Program, Crown prosecutor’s office, and legal aid in Ontario and Alberta. She even appealed to her MPP, equivalent to an MLA in Alberta. No one could help her much.
Ultimately she was told she could apply to have the conviction set aside in Red Deer but she would need to appear in person before a judge, or have someone stand in for her. “If I had money to waste I would fly out there just to prove myself and stand in court.”
After the Advocate contacted Alberta Justice, spokesperson Sharene Khaw said Tuesday that the province is now doing some investigating into McKee’s case.
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General’s Fines Enforcement Program will be contacting her to determine if she can provide further evidence of her residency and the sale of vehicle.
Depending on the information provided, consideration will be given to whether enforcement of the ticket should proceed or not, Khaw said.
She said McKee’s case was not a common complaint and she herself hadn’t heard of any similar cases.