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Subject: Freedom of Movement in Canada - Trans Canada Highway
(Posted on Aug 10, 2012 at 02:27PM by Media Manager)

Under Section Six of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are Highway and Bridge Tolls like the New Port Mann Bridge legal on the Trans Canada Highway.

Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the section of the Canadian Constitution that protects the mobility rights of Canadian citizens, and to a lesser extent that of permanent residents. By mobility rights, the section refers to the individual practice of entering and exiting Canada, and moving within its boundaries. The section is subject to the section 1 Oakes test, but cannot be nullified by the notwithstanding clause. Along with the language rights in the Charter (sections 16-23), section 6 was meant to protect Canadian unity. Tolls on highways and bridges that link the Canadian flow of goods and services to serve Canadians may be unconstitutional? Similar to Highway 407 in the province of Ontario, Canada the New Port Mann Bridge will not have toll booths, and instead will read a transponder mounted on the windshields of each vehicle using the road (the rear license plates of vehicles lacking a transponder are photographed when they enter and exit the highway). This made highway 407 the first all-automated highway in the world. A bill is mailed monthly for usage of the 407. Lower charges are levied on frequent 407 users who carry electronic transponders in their vehicles.

The approach has not been without controversy: In 2003 the 407 ETR in Ontario settled[11] a class action with a refund to users.

In this day of rising fuel costs and environmental concerns of tolling the Port Mann Bridge will cause volumes of drivers to take longer or more convenient routes using the non-tolled Pattullo and Alex Fraser Bridges to move between cities on the West side of the North Arm of the Fraser River. By 2018 TransLink has proposed a new toll bridge for the Pattullo as well that will cause even more congestion in areas that connect these alternative routes. Anyone living in Surrey or the Fraser Valley and working on the West Side of the North Arm of the Fraser River (or vice versa) will be persecuted financially by these tolls. Provincial and local governments have now circumvented due process through the use of tolls. The Port Mann Bridge is presently toll free and should remain that way. Improvements of this nature should be paid for from Federal and Provincial Highway coffers to ensure Canadians rights to freedom of movement across the nation are preserved, as was the intention within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Tolls of this nature disable all Canadians and when free movement comes with a price, something is wrong in our society.

What are your thoughts?

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