EDITORIAL: Timing of MacKay’s drunk driving bill questioned

Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced a bill in the House of Commons this week that would, among other things, command tougher penalties for drunk drivers who kill people, including a mandatory minimum sentence of six years in prison.

The current minimum sentence is a $1,000 fine.

Almost immediately, the cynics were calling out the timing of MacKay’s Dangerous and Impaired Driving Act, insisting that this is nothing more than an election PR move by the Progressive Conservatives.

That’s hard to argue, considering the government’s summer break is scheduled to begin next week, and by the time it reconvenes, in September, the election will be less than four weeks away.

There is zero chance of this bill being passed prior to the election, and the Tories will promise to prioritize this bill – this bill that THEY introduced – should they be re-elected.

That said, in this instance, timing doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it is time for Canada to get tough on drunk driving. Not “tougher.” Just tough.

A $1,000 minimum fine and no jail time for killing someone while committing a crime is ludicrous. And while the sentences for drunk driving causing death need to be increased, so too do the sentences for basic impaired driving.

Sadly, our justice system is so lean on drunk drivers, the consequences for their actions do not outweigh their actions. Far too many people still refuse alternate transportation after an evening of drinking, because heaven forbid they should have to leave their car somewhere overnight.

And as long as they don’t kill anyone on their way home, what’s the worst that can happen?

Our government’s laws have no teeth when it comes to drunk driving.

The bill introduced by MacKay goes a long way to changing that – not only for drunk driving causing death, but also for the basic act of impaired driving, as well as mandatory jail time (minimum 30 days) for drunk driving causing bodily harm (but not death).

Yes, the timing is poor, and no, it won’t become law soon enough to prevent the next killing of an innocent victim at the hands of a drunk driver. But it is progress.

 

Just Posted

No quick fix for auto shop site in Cumberland

Council recommends the applicant get a temporary use permit for now

Snowbirds set to take to the skies of the Comox Valley and beyond

The Royal Canadian Air Force officially announced the 2020 Snowbirds schedule

Internationally acclaimed designer back in class at North Island College

Courtenay graphic designer Laura Prpich is sharing her knowledge and talent with… Continue reading

Denman Island potter recognized by BC arts community

Gordon Hutchens received a Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art and Design

Kwigwatsi Studio a labour of love for Comox Valley couple

The studio is at 3250 Comox Road and overlooks the Bighouse and K’omoks First Nation Band Office.

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Most Read