Oct 29, 2018 - MEDIA RELEASE: MP COOPER AND IMPAIRED DRIVING VICTIM SHERI ARSENAULT ARE FRUSTRATED THAT LIBERALS DOUBLED-DOWN ON WATERING-DOWN SENTENCES FOR IMPAIRED DRIVING


Conservative MP Michael Cooper (St. Albert-Edmonton), the Official Opposition Deputy Shadow Minister of Justice, and Sheri Arsenault, whose son Bradley was killed by an impaired driver, are frustrated that the Liberals doubled-down on watering-down sentences for impaired driving in Bill C-75.  Bill C-75 would make many serious indictable offences, including impaired driving causing bodily harm, prosecutable by summary conviction, which carries a maximum penalty of only two-years-less-a-day and as little as fine. 

 Yesterday, the Justice Committee completed their study of Bill C-75.  Last week Liberal MPs on the Committee backed down on watering-down certain terrorist-related offences.  They supported Conservative amendments to Bill C-75 to keep these offences strictly indictable with maximum sentences of up to 10 years.  Yesterday, Liberal MPs on the Justice Committee took a different approach, ignored victims, and voted against a Conservative amendment to keep impaired driving causing bodily harm as a strictly indictable offence.

 MP Cooper released the following statement, calling out Justin Trudeau’s Liberals for once again failing to support victims of crime:

 “Sheri Arsenault and other victims appeared before the Justice Committee and urged the Liberals not to water-down sentences for impaired driving causing bodily harm. 

 “Last week, Liberal MPs on the Justice Committee did the right thing by supporting Conservative amendments to keep several terrorist-related offences strictly indictable.  As Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault said in support of the Conservative amendments, the terrorist-related offences should not be watered-down, because they are “very serious offences”.  Shockingly, the same Liberal MPs did not agree that impaired driving causing bodily harm is also a serious offence.

 “Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada.  Instead of listening to victims, and doing what is right, the Liberals recklessly doubled-down on watering-down penalties for this very serious offence.

“This is completely wrong.  It sends the message that impaired driving isn’t the serious crime that it is.  And it makes it more likely that impaired drivers will walk away with a slap-on-the-wrist.  Victims and all Canadians deserve better.”

 Sheri Arsenault released the following statement:

 “There is not a city, town, village or community from coast to coast, that has not been seriously affected by the horrors of impaired driving and no one is immune to this serious crime.  As a mother and a victim, I am frustrated that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have rejected common sense amendments that would have protected Canadians from the devastation that impaired driving causes. Reducing penalties for impaired driving causing bodily harm is not only devastating for victims, it also sends a very strong message to all Canadians that public safety is not a priority for this Liberal government.

 “Reducing sentences for serious crime will not speed up the court system. It will not provide justice for victims and communities; it offers no deterrence or meaningful time for rehabilitation to the offenders. Our justice system is going 10 steps backwards and this is a cowardly approach to serious crimes.   Clearing up the backlog in our Justice system should never be done at the expense of victims and public safety. Bill C-75 will have serious consequences and the long term damage to Canadians will take decades to correct.  To reduce these offences sends an unthinkable message to the victims and the general public, to all Canadians.

 “The protection of a society from the actions of criminals that commit serious crimes is one of the most important responsibilities of Government.  Yesterday I was heartbroken and like all other victims of crime, I am left struggling to make sense of this “pro criminal” approach our Liberal Government has chosen to take.”

 For more information, media may contact:

Kelsey Evaniew

Office of Michael Cooper, M.P.

Michael.Cooper.a3@parl.gc.ca


 

Last updated on: 2019-01-25 | Link to this post