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I could have been detained and required to provide breath samples for doing nothing more than purchasing a bottle of alcohol from a government store while perfectly sober

My Exciting Trip to the Liquor Store in Fascist Canada


By —— Bio and Archives--January 20, 2019

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My Exciting Trip to the Liquor Store in Fascist Canada
As I wrote in an earlier article, new laws concerning drinking and driving came into effect in Canada on Dec. 18. As well as increased penalties, cops no longer have to have a “reasonable suspicion” that a driver has been drinking before demanding that driver provide suitable breath samples. As well, a police officer can demand someone provide breath samples if that person has driven anytime within the previous two hours. If the demand is made to a person drinking at home or in a bar and that person blows over the legal limit, he or she can be charged. It is up to them to prove that they were not impaired when they last drove.

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I also wrote about Art Lightowler, a 70-year-old Ontario resident who, on Jan. 5, decided to take three cases of empties back to his local beer store to get a refund. His dastardly act of taking that many bottles back at one time caught the attention of a police officer. The officer decided Lightowler was a drinker. After the senior drove away from the store, he was stopped by the cop. The officer demanded samples of his breath; there was no evidence he had been drinking but police no longer need that. A shocked Lightowler blew into the roadside breathalyzer, passed and was allowed to go on his way. (Canada Free Press, Jan. 16)

On Friday during the early afternoon, I decided to go to the liquor store. The weather, beginning on Saturday, was expected to be bad so it was a good time to get some booze in case I wanted a drink in the next few days. I had not had a drink in about a week.

As I drove into the liquor store parking lot, I noticed a police car parked there. No one was in the car. If the officer or officers were in the liquor store, they were in the back, not visible to customers. They may have been at one of the neighbouring stores or apartments. The car was backed into the parking space indicating the driver was not responding to an emergency.

In the olden days, before the new drinking and driving laws came into effect, I wouldn’t have paid any attention to the car or looked to see where the police officers were. It simply was not a big deal. But in those pre-December days, leaving a liquor store with a bottle and driving home did not constitute a “reasonable suspicion” the driver had alcohol in his or her system. But when I left the store, I again looked to see if a police officer was around. I could have been breathalyzed for the same reason (or lack of reason) Lightowler was required to provide breath samples.

I had no intention of drinking that afternoon. But it was unsettling to realize if I drank within two hours of getting home, a cop could barge in and legally demand breath samples. And if I had been drinking the bottle I bought and had too much alcohol in my system or was impaired, I could have been charged. The onus would have been on me to adduce evidence I was not impaired at the time I drove.

I identify with Art Lightowler. We are around the same age and have the same first name. And we both apparently share the belief when returning empties it is better to make one trip than three. Obviously, having no contact with the police I didn’t go through anything like Lightowler did. But it was a real experience nonetheless.

It was one thing to read the legislation, the commentaries and hear Lightowler speak about what happened to him; it was another thing to see that parked scout car and realize I could have been detained and required to provide breath samples for doing nothing more than purchasing a bottle of alcohol from a government store while perfectly sober.

Related:
Will Canada’s Harsh New Drinking & Driving Laws Be Effective?


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Arthur Weinreb -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. Arthur’s latest book, Ford Nation: Why hundreds of thousands of Torontonians supported their conservative crack-smoking mayor is available at Amazon. Racism and the Death of Trayvon Martin is also available at Smashwords. His work has appeared on Newsmax.com,  Drudge Report, Foxnews.com.

Older articles (2007) by Arthur Weinreb


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