Nova Scotia

N.S. man says motor vehicle registry needs overhaul

A Pictou County cattle farmer, who lost his licence last summer after someone complained about his driving, says getting it back was an ordeal.
Registry of Motor Vehicles needs an overhaul, says Pictou County man. (CBC)

A Pictou County cattle farmer, who lost his licence last summer after someone complained about his driving, says getting it back was an ordeal.

Greg Murray, 71, described his experiences with employees at the Registry of Motor Vehicles as "civil servants gone berserk".

Murray, who also works and lives in Halifax, had a stroke more than two decades ago, but that does not slow him down.

"I've kept farming ever since and I drive quite comfortably. And I was tested to death before I got out of rehab of, course," he said Friday.

After a minor accident a couple of years ago, Murray was asked to re-take the driver's test.  He did and passed.

But last summer, he was asked out of the blue to take the test again. Murray asked why, wondering if it was because of a second fender bender that he insists was not his fault. 

Murray never got an answer, but he did get a surprise. 

Greg Murray says his licence was yanked last summer after an anonymous complaint. ((CBC))
"Early August, I get a letter, 'Your licence has been suspended.' And I said 'Oops. I have to go to the farm this afternoon. I need my licence, thank you very much,'" he said.

"So, I called up again, and, in fact, they confirmed that it had been suspended. There was nothing to do, and I had to wait at least two months to get an appointment for re-examination, which would have shut my farm down, my business down, me down and a few other people down somewhat, too. "

Murray pushed for an early re-test date, and again passed. He then called the police to get details about his driving record and that's when he found out someone had sent in a complaint.

"It was the most farcical thing you've ever read in your life," he said. "It claimed that I was constantly careening off the pillars of my underground garage and the other tenants lived in terror of parking close to me."

Murray said the allegations in the complaint are untrue and he was never given a chance to defend himself. He's not impressed with how the Registry of Motor Vehicles works.

"Somewhere between arbitrary and irrational, I guess. You know, a lot of it just doesn't make sense," he said.

Murray thinks this area of government is long overdue for an overhaul.

"They're ready for some oversight from somebody who's got some sense of responsibility to others than just themselves and their so-called best interests.  It's got to be a little more open than that," he said.

Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations John MacDonell, who oversees the registry, has already promised to bring in changes to the system by the fall.