Pubdate: Mon, 16 Oct 2017
Source: Gulf News, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2017 Transcontinental Media Network
Page: 4


It must have been a busy meeting. A couple of weeks ago, Canada's
federal and provincial justice and public safety ministers met in
Vancouver for two days of meetings. They talked about delays in the
criminal system and reforms to the Criminal Code over mandatory
minimum sentencing provisions. About changes to the bail system and
simpler and faster court proceedings.

They talked about national security legislation and the safety of
Canadians, about the legalization of marijuana and the nuances of home
cultivation, and the health and safety effects of the drug, both on
adults and the particular risks for young people. There was discussion
about changing the rules on drunk driving to make it easier for police
officers to require drivers to submit to breath testing, and on and

Heck, the news release on the meeting alone ran to 1,293

Tucked away deep inside that release? These words: "Federal ministers
provided an update on cannabis and impaired driving legislative

Right now, the federal government is looking at changing the Criminal
Code to give police officers more tools to try and catch the expected
increase in impaired drivers stemming from the legalization of marijuana.

At this point, the federal government hasn't rolled out how it expects
to measure marijuana in drivers, nor what the legal threshold for
marijuana impairment in drivers will be. It hasn't established a
rationale for whether there could be different levels needed for
medical marijuana users with a higher threshold for impairment. There
have already beena significant number of drivers arrested for being
under the influence of drugs, while marijuana is still illegal.

Realistically, there's a lot of work left to be done.

And when it comes to the most immediate impact of marijuana
legalization, drugged driving is likely to be the quickest where the
rubber - and broken windshield glass, and radiator fluid - meets the

It's bad enough that we haven't been able to control the variety of
impaired drivers that are already on our roads.

You can't walk any distance to work and back without seeing at least a
half a dozen drivers texting on their smartphones with what seems like
a virtual impunity from being charged, even though their distracted
driving causes a significant number of collisions in the Atlantic provinces.

Police departments issue daily reports of drunk drivers that they
catch still travelling on our roads - let alone the number who manage
to avoid arrest. And that's despite ever-stronger laws at both the
federal and provincial level penalizing drunk drivers, while at the
same time other laws make it easier for police to pull over and test
suspect drivers.

To throw drug-impaired drivers into a system that seems unprepared to
address the issue looks like a clear recipe for disaster.

And the time to build an effective drugged driving system is growing
shorter with every passing day.
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MAP posted-by: Matt