Proposed omnibus Bill C-75 includes new minimum penalties for impaired driving

Conservative MP Michael Cooper is pushing for changes to Bill C-75, on behalf of families harmed by impaired driving. 

Grace Pesa made a six-hour round trip Sunday for the opportunity to be heard for 10 minutes. The Calgary woman joined a press conference in St. Albert, called by a group of mothers who have lost children in accidents involving impaired drivers.

Together, they are demanding changes to Bill C-75, tabled by the Liberal government in March.

The omnibus bill, proposed to modernize and speed up Canada's criminal justice system, includes new minimum punishments for impaired drivers that are less harsh than those currently in the Criminal Code.

Pesa described the proposed legislation as insensitive toward families who have lost loved ones to impaired driving, especially those who feel the Criminal Code already isn't tough enough.

"We are not out for vengeance," Pesa said. "What we want is for a penalty to be commensurate to the crime."

Pesa's 20-year-old son, Francis, was killed by a drunk driver in 2014. 

The man convicted in his death was sentenced to three years in jail. He was released after serving five months.

"It's all so vivid still, in my mind," Pesa said about the day her son died.

"If I don't speak, who would? And if I don't come here, it's like forgetting about my Francis."

Grace Pesa's 20-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver in 2014. Two other mothers, Sheri Arsenault and Sage Morin, joined Pesa at the press conference. 

Arsenault lost her teenage son Bradley in 2011, when an impaired driver slammed into the back of his car on a highway near Beaumont.

She has been advocating for tougher impaired driving laws ever since, always with her son's death in mind.

"We live it every day," Arsenault said. "The tears are always behind our eyes."

Sheri Arsenault has advocated for reforms to Canada's impaired driving laws since her son's death in 2011

Morin's two-year-old son died in 2013 when a man crashed his SUV through the Edmonton restaurant patio where her family was having dinner.

The man, who was not convicted of impaired driving, was initially sentenced to four months in jail for failing to provide a breath sample after the crash. His sentence was changed to 26 months, following an appeal by the Crown. 

"We are actual, real people — real lives that are affected by these laws," Morin said.

Conservative MP Michael Cooper hosted the event. He has been calling for harsher impaired-driving sentences since before the Liberal government tabled its omnibus bill.

If passed, Bill C-75 will achieve the opposite, Cooper said.

"More impaired drivers are going to be able to walk away virtually scot-free," Cooper told reporters at Sunday's press conference.

Cooper added he plans to fight the impaired driving segment of the proposed legislation in the House of Commons.

Source: CBC News



Last updated on: 2018-08-04 | Link to this post