Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jul 2008
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Teviah Moro


MPP Furious Ontario Liberals Slow To Implement Measures

The Ontario government is putting lives at risk by "dithering" with 
the execution of federal legislation that allows police to take 
samples of bodily fluids from suspected drug-impaired drivers, Simcoe 
North MPP Garfield Dunlop said Thursday.

Dunlop is incensed the provincial Liberals have said the 
traffic-safety measure, which came into effect on July 2, won't 
immediately be acted upon due to inadequate resources to process samples.

Police have placed considerable emphasis on stamping out drunk 
driving in Ontario, and rumblings about the new legislation have been 
heard for four years, the Tory critic for community safety and 
correctional services told The Packet & Times.

"For something like this to come along, where someone could be 
driving down the road sort of whacked out on marijuana or something, 
and you can't test the guy now after the feds have given the tools, 
is completely irresponsible," Dunlop said.

The province continues to lobby the federal government for funding, 
said Tony Brown, spokesperson for the Ministry of Community Safety 
and Correctional Services.

"Despite the fact that the federal government has not given Ontario 
one cent of funding, our plan will protect Ontarians from impaired 
drivers," Brown said.

As demand for testing grows, the province's capacity will grow with 
it, he said.

"What is happening now is that we are identifying the staffing needs 
and the training needs going forward. And we are acquiring these 
resources as we speak."

To act on the new measures, the OPP has estimated it will need an 
additional $17.8 million over four years, the Centre of Forensic 
Sciences another $17.3 million, and the Ontario Police College an 
extra $2.5 million, Brown noted.

The OPP is confident the kinks will be worked out soon, said Sgt. 
Pierre Chamberland, co-ordinator of corporate communications at 
general headquarters in Orillia.

"In the meantime, we're still going to proceed with the 
implementation of the legislation from our end," he said.

Officers are being trained to test for drug impairment through 
roadside tests, which can be followed up by more formal samples after 
arrests are made, similar to the way police probe for drunk drivers, 
Chamberland noted.

This will prove advantageous for making charges stick, he suggested: 
"We will have some physical evidence to bring to court."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart