Filipinos were among those who joined a gathering at the Tomkins Park in downtown Calgary to campaign against drunk driving.

A total of 1,460 shoes were placed on the sidewalks to represent people who were killed by drunk drivers.

The Empty Shoes campaign, which started in British Columbia, urges the conservative government to implement tougher sentencing laws on people who chose to drive impaired.

The group said the offense of drunk driving should be elevated to vehicle manslaughter and a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years up to a maximum of life imprisonment to be meted when resulting in the death of a person.

Families for Justice founder Markita Kaulius, whose daughter Kassandra was killed by a drunk driver in Surrey, BC in 2011 said the government is working on rewriting some new laws regarding impaired driving.

"This is a crime that affects thousands of people, thousands of families and what we are asking for is the federal government to implement some laws that will bring about public safety and I think that is something that has been lacking and it needs to be brought back into. Everyone deserves the right to get home safely to their families and friends," said Kaulius.

Grace Pesa, whose 20-year-old son Francis was a victim of a drunk driver this year, considers it a big step.

"We will not stop until we see change and when I see change, to me, mabago ang batas, ma-implementa ang batas kasi pwedeng baguhin eh pero dapat ipasunod. Hangga't hindi siya napapasunod, walang mangyayari," Pesa said.

Francis' brother, Hervin Pesa added: "It's all about people coming together and deciding that they want to change the law so that there will be less victims of such crimes. Then the law changes according to the needs of society today in 2014. Not laws or precedence that came from decades or even a few years ago."

Meantime, officials talked about the importance of raising awareness and educating the public about impaired driving.

"No matter how much schooling or training we go through to go to a call, provide care, save a life and go on to the next one, these are different. These ones are the ones that are very preventable. There's no need for these deaths to be occurring. It's a simple choice of taking a taxi, a transit, walking or a designated sober driver to get everyone home," said Paramedic Adam Loria, Public Education Officer, Emergency Medical Services, Alberta Health Services.

In Canada, four to six people die and 174 people are injured every day to a drunk driver. The Families for Justice and their supporters said the numbers will go down if the new laws are implemented.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Last updated on: 2014-10-09 | Link to this post