MP Eglin­ski voices con­cern over drug-im­paired driv­ing

The McLeod River Post - - Viewpoint -

Dear Sir,

On Oc­to­ber 24th, Jim Eglin­ski, Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Yel­low­head, took part in de­bate on Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Crim­i­nal Code (of­fences re­lat­ing to con­veyances) and to make con­se­quen­tial amend­ments to other Acts.

In recog­ni­tion that mar­i­juana is slated to be le­gal­ized by July 2018, Bill C-46 amends the pro­vi­sions of the Crim­i­nal Code that deal with of­fences and pro­ce­dures re­lat­ing to al­co­hol and drug-im­paired driv­ing. Cur­rently at Re­port Stage, the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion in­tro­duces new and higher manda­tory fines and max­i­mum penal­ties for im­paired driv­ing crimes, and it au­tho­rizes manda­tory road­side screen­ing.

“Sci­ence gives us the abil­ity to cal­cu­late the ef­fects of al­co­hol,” stated MP Eglin­ski in the House of Com­mons. “I could sit down with any per­son in this room, and if he or she told me what he or she had to drink I could prob­a­bly break it down and tell him or her what the [breathal­yser] read­ing would be.”

While law en­force­ment can de­tect al­co­hol in im­paired driv­ing, de­tect­ing drugs can be much more dif­fi­cult. Draw­ing on his 35 years of ex­pe­ri­ence as an RCMP of­fi­cer, MP Eglin­ski ex­pressed con­cern for the lack of sci­en­tif­i­cally proven in­stru­ments that al­low of­fi­cers to de­tect mar­i­juana in blood lev­els.

“We are look­ing at that and test­ing it right now. . . I do not be­lieve we have enough sci­en­tific ev­i­dence out there. How­ever, [the Lib­er­als] will be go­ing ahead with this law to make mar­i­juana le­gal,” he said.

MP Eglin­ski also crit­i­cized the lack of sub­stan­tial penal­ties to de­ter im­paired driv­ers and keep them off the road. Bill C-46 does not in­crease penal­ties for the most se­ri­ous im­paired driv­ing of­fence, namely, im­paired driv­ing caus­ing death. The Con­ser­va­tive Party pre­vi­ously put for­ward an amend­ment when the bill was at Jus­tice Com­mit­tee to pro­vide for a five-year manda­tory sen­tence for im­paired driv­ing caus­ing death. In­di­vid­u­als con­victed of this very se­ri­ous of­fence, in some cases, are cur­rently walk­ing free with noth­ing more than a $1,500 fine. The Lib­er­als voted against the amend­ment.

“The leg­is­la­tion in Bill C-46 has some good in­ten­tions, and I do not dis­agree with it, but it needs to be re­viewed with more scru­tiny. It needs to be looked at. We need to get rid of a lot of the am­bigu­ous parts that are writ­ten in there be­cause it is go­ing to tie up po­lice of­fi­cers on the road and make it very dif­fi­cult for us to en­force im­paired driv­ing, es­pe­cially with re­spect to drugs,” con­cluded MP Eglin­ski.

To read the speech and find more in­for­ma­tion on Bill C-46, visit the House Pub­li­ca­tions page at: www.our­com­mons.ca/en

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