I'm happy."

Sheri Arsenault not only got a private one-on-one meeting with Minister Peter MacKay following a justice round table downtown Thursday afternoon. She's been promised a follow-up meeting.

"I'm happy for Families for Justice. I know they're going to be thrilled when they hear the news that yes, we're going to get that meeting that we worked so hard for, for so long."

The local mother has been involved in this crusade to get tougher sentences for drunk drivers after her son, Bradley, was killed In November of 2011. Clutching her binder that contains all sorts of notes, documents and a petition that calls for five-year mandatory sentences on drunk driving convictions involving death, Sheri Arsenault says her conversation with him about the petition also struck a chord.

"(The petition) says also to change (the charge) to vehicular manslaughter. He said, 'why manslaughter? Why not vehicular homicide?' That's what it is, so he's encouraging, he sees it for the crime that it is."

Arsenault can also pick the location for the follow-up meeting, set to be some time in the next couple of months. Her preference is in Edmonton or Vancouver, since her Families for Justice colleague lives in Delta.

The one-on-one with McKay came after a two-hour roundtable that the minister led off talking about the Harper government increasing its 'tough on crime' stance.

"When the effect of an impaired driving case is death or injury, this is the most serious of cases that we have when life and limb are affected," MacKay said in the 15-minute open portion of the meeting. He recalled his days in Nova Scotia as a crown prosecutor, reflecting on one case he worked on and the words of the judge when bringing down his sentence.

"Driving down the road under the effect of drugs or alcohol is not different than pointing a gun at another human being. It's that serious and can have that kind of devastating effect on a person's life. So with that in mind, I believe we have to continue send that signal of just how serious of an incident it is."

MacKay has only had the justice portfolio for a week, and his staff invited Arsenault to the session, as well as squeezing her in for a quick private meeting.

"The previous justice minister regrets that he wasn't able because of the change (the cabinet shuffle) to meet with her. Her Member of Parliament, James Rajotte, has been a champion for her and for her concerns, and I've spoken to James specifically about some of the things we're contemplating with regard to changes in the law around impaired driving."


Source: iNews 880 AM


Last updated on: 2013-07-25 | Link to this post