An Edmonton-area mother joined Canada’s justice minister in Ottawa today as he tabled new legislation aimed at drunk drivers.

Sheri Arsenault’s son, Bradley, and two of his friends were killed in a 2011 crash near Beaumont – the driver who hit them was convicted of impaired driving.

Arsenault, as well as two other mothers who lost their children in similar incidents, stood together as Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced the Dangerous and Impaired Driving Act - a bill he said would increase maximum penalties for impaired driving, from 10 to 14 years in jail, and introduce new mandatory jail time instead of fines for some offences.

Peter MacKay speaks at a news conference on June 16, 2015.


“Driving a vehicle while impaired down a busy street puts other drivers and other pedestrians at harm and is no different than pointing a loaded gun in their direction,” the minister said.

Tougher laws are something Arsenault has wanted for a long time.

“It’s more than hope, it is a step in the right direction – because finally something has been introduced,” she said.

The bill would also limit certain defences available to those charged with impaired driving, including one that has allowed people to argue their blood alcohol level was high because they drank after stopping the car.

The law also responds to a Supreme Court decision which threw out elements of the impaired driving law related to the ability of a person accused of impaired driving to blame the breathalyzer test.

The House of Commons is set to break for the summer within days and Parliament will soon be dissolved for the upcoming election – which means the proposals are unlikely to become law until the next government is formed.

Source: CTV News


Last updated on: 2015-06-19 | Link to this post