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Submission to the Top Secret Tory Tort Deform Task Force



Happy New Year! Last month, you (along with Justice Minister Kaycee Madu QC and muzzled MLA/injury lawyer Mickey Amery) received a courtesy copy of our email to Finance Minister Travis Toews, encouraging the UCP government to remember what that “C” stands for and slam the brakes on the unfair, unnecessary and unconservative joint TBF bureaucracy/insurance lobby scheme to turf auto accident injury law in favour of a socialist no-fault regime with a sham tort option. We are pleased to submit some additional comments at this time for your careful consideration. During the 2019 election campaign, Jason Kenney called the NDP’s carbon tax “the biggest lie in Alberta political history” because Nötley Crüe hadn’t mentioned a carbon tax during the 2015 election campaign. Does anyone recall which of the UCP’s 375 campaign platform planks last election promised to rip away rights from Albertans injured by reckless drivers to pad insurance industry profit margins? Not a single one of them, and yet after the election, insurance lobbyists Nick Koolsbergen (2019 UCP Election Campaign Chair) and Celyeste Power (former Kenney press secretary) quickly persuaded Minister Toews to remove the artificial cap on car insurance rates and then, in a display of government intervention reeking of rank hypocrisy, to expand the regulatory cap on injury claims. Winston Churchill said to never let a good crisis go to waste, but it is nonetheless objectionable that while Albertans cope with a deadly pandemic, Mr. Toews has appointed a secret backbencher “task force” to hold hush hush dog & pony show stakeholder consultations over Webex and then implement later this year the remainder of the Koolsbergen Power couple’s “Driving Change” agenda. Before you dismiss these comments (coming as they do from someone who has earned a living for 30 years advocating for the rights of innocent ordinary Albertans, mostly women and children, victimized by negligent and/or impaired motorists) as “demonstrating a pattern of behaviour which undermines government efforts and consists mainly of self-interest and divisiveness”, maybe instead put yourself in the shoes of an injured Albertan such as Conservative MP Kerry Diotte’s wife Clare. Perhaps consider what we said in our open letter to UCP Caucus last year: “Let’s be clear: those who want to turf tort law and enact a no-fault regime believe that an innocent child mowed down in a marked crosswalk by a distracted driver doesn’t deserve fair compensation for her pain and suffering. ‘After all,’ they say, ‘she didn’t lose income or have to pay out of her own pocket for the months of therapy she needed to recover from her physical injuries and mental trauma.’ Do these no-fault fans have no compassion? Do they not have children of their own? No-fault robs from the innocent to unjustly enrich the guilty and their insurers. Will you sit idly by while this happens -- or will you stand up and stop this chicanery?” And maybe take to heart the words of true conservative John Crosbie, former Justice Minister of Canada, who passed away around this time last year: “Why should we, because of concern about the mounting cost of automobile insurance premiums, accept a solution that restricts the rights of innocent third parties to be compensated for the pain and suffering they experienced because of the fault or carelessness of a motorist? Surely, we, as a feeling and informed and thinking society can do better than that!” We respectfully submit that the four of you in this TSTTDTF should resolve this new year to find the time to read not only this blog post, but also the links found in this post and in the other blog posts McCourt Law Offices has written on this subject over the past 15 months or so. Kindly consider them part of this submission. Thank you. Warm wishes in 2021, Mark McCourt Injury Lawyer, McCourt Law Offices

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