Conservative government refused to pass a bill increasing penalties for drunk driving
The Conservative government refused to pass a bill that would have increased penalties for drunk driving introduced by a Tory backbencher that had support from both the NDP and the Liberals.
The Harper government decided to not move forward with MP for Prince Albert, SK Randy Hoback’s Bill C-590, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (blood alcohol content), which introduced severe penalties where a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is well above 0.16% or the driver caused significant property damage, even though it was approved by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for unanimously.
Almost half the fatally injured drivers in Canada had a blood alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit and make up 31% of the alcohol-related deaths, according to statistics Canada.
“The goal is to prevent these drivers from getting behind the wheel as they cause a greater number of fatalities and are more likely to be repeat offenders,” Mr. Hoback told the House of Commons on June 5. “As time at the end of this Parliament session is quickly running out, I therefore ask that we pass Bill C-590 as quickly as we can to give the Senate enough time to deliberate and pass it before the fast-approaching summer is upon us.”
Marco Muzzo, the 29-year-old billionaire charged in the crash at Vaughan that left three children and their grandfather dead allegedly had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit at the time of the accident, police sources revealed.
“Although Canada has very tough laws and penalties for impaired driving, more than 750 motorists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists were killed every year between 2003 and 2005 in traffic accidents involving drunk drivers,” Rosane Doré Lefebvre, NDP MP for Alfred-Pellan, QC said in support of the bill. “Even one death is one too many, but this is more than two people per day. That is far too many, and we need to implement measures to address this problem.”
“The Traffic Injury Research Foundation has found that impaired drivers with a blood alcohol content of over 160 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood represent close to 70% of impaired drivers killed in car accidents,” Sean Casey, Liberal MP for Charlottetown, PE told Parliament. “When we are talking about this crime, I do think stiffer penalties may be an effective deterrent, since many people who get behind the wheel while impaired would not be prone to criminality in general.”