Markita Kaulius, left, and Sheri Arsenault, Alberta director of Families for Justice, hold a banner of victims of drunk drivers on Parliament steps in Ottawa.

Markita Kaulius met with the federal justice minister and presented to the committee on justice and human rights

Markita Kaulius went to Ottawa this week to speak with federal politicians on behalf of the many Canadians who have lost their lives to drunk drivers, her daughter being one of those victims.

Kaulius, founder of Families for Justice, lost her 22-year-old daughter Kassandra to a drunk driver in Surrey in 2011, a year when 1,074 Canadians were killed by impaired drivers and more than 63,000 were injured.

“It is affecting thousands of families across Canada,” she said of the impaired driving scourge in this country.

Kaulius made a presentation to the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and also met with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and former Conservative justice minister Rob Nicholson.

“What we’ve been asking for is the government to look at changing the Criminal Code of Canada redefining impaired driving causing death as vehicular homicide. They’re not in favour of that; they say vehicular homicide does not include, the terminology doesn’t include planes, trains and snowmobiles, whatever. We’re saying you can change the word to whatever you want.”

She noted the actual term was “drawn up” by the justice department in Bill C-73.

Families for Justice is also seeking mandatory five-year minimum sentences for anyone convicted of impaired driving causing death.

“We’ve seen sentences of one day in jail, house arrest, a $1,500 fine, seven weekends in jail, 90 days to be served on weekends,” she said. “We’ve had entire families killed.”

In one case, she said, a mother, father and their two children from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan were killed by a drunk driver.

“The accused, it was her third impaired driving charge. She got a sentence of 10 years, but after only serving one month in jail she went to a healing lodge, and even the elders of the healing lodge told the deceased’s family that they didn’t think that was appropriate, that she should have spent some time in jail.

“She won’t serve 10 years,” Kaulius said. “She’ll be coming up for parole in about 18 months, so she will have served about six months per death.”

Kaulius noted that a lot of drunk drivers who kill have had previous impaired driving convictions. “They’ve had two or three times or more that they’ve been stopped.”

In Nova Scotia, she noted, there’s a man who has been charged with impaired driving charges 19 times and last year in Victoria a woman was charged with her 21st impaired driving charge. “They haven’t killed anybody, by the grace of God, but when they’re still driving after 19, 21 times of impaired driving, that’s not right.”

Source: Surrey Now Leader


Last updated on: 2017-10-31 | Link to this post