We are losing more and more of our rights under feel good laws that do absolutely no good

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

By —— Bio and Archives--January 16, 2019

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Will Canada’s Harsh New Drinking & Driving Laws Be Effective?
The country has been tending towards a police state for some time. Nowhere are the losses of individual rights accepted by so many people as when these rights are taken away in order to combat drinking and driving. The new amendments to the Criminal Code that came into effect on Dec. 18, are not only draconian but some of the provisions border on the absurd. While some in the media have addressed the fact these amendments infringe upon peoples’ rights, little has been said about whether or not these changes to the law will be effective.

Under the old law, police who lawfully stopped a motorist could demand breath samples be given into a roadside screening device only if the officer had a “reasonable suspicion” the driver had alcohol in his or her system. The reasonable suspicion would be formed if the officer could smell alcohol or observe other indicia of impairment. The new law does away with the need of “reasonable suspicion.” Any driver who is lawfully stopped by a police officer can be required to provide breath samples even if there is no evidence the person had been drinking.


It didn’t take long to see the results of these new amendments. In Ontario, empty liquor bottles as well as empty beer bottles can be returned to a beer store for a refund. Taking liquor bottles back to beer stores for refunds is done in the name of recycling. On Jan. 5, Art Lightowler, a 70-year-old resident of Mississauga, took three cases of empties back to the beer store. He was seen committing this horrendous act by a police officer who waited for the senior to drive off. After Lightowler drove away he was stopped. The officer told him the three cases of empties were a lot, he was obviously a drinker and he was then asked when he last had a drink. Lightowler said he last drank around midnight the day before.

The cop then demanded he provide a breath sample. Lightowler asked what would happened if he refused to take the breath test and was told he would be charged with a criminal offence and would be looking at a minimum fine of $2,000 and a licence suspension for one year (penalties for drinking and driving offences were increased under the new law). Lightowler provided a sample, passed and was allowed to go on his way. (Toronto Sun, Jan. 10)

A lot of people are criticizing the cop for stopping Lightowler. But the stop was done in compliance with the new legislation. Simply being in possession of three cases of empties does not provide a “reasonable suspicion” someone is driving drunk but that is no longer necessary. The stop wasn’t completely arbitrary or random. Instead of being criticized, the cop should be given a raise for thinking outside the box and for quickly understanding the Trudeau government’s new law.

BOOZE CARDING? Man stopped for breathalyzer after Beer Store visit

As bad as the above was, there was another change to the law that is much worse and that is being ignored by much of the Trudeau-loving media.

The law has been changed so a police officer can demand a person provide breath samples up to two hours AFTER the person has been driving. This is the most draconian section of the new law and was supposedly passed to get around the following situation. Police are advised a certain vehicle is driving erratically. By the time it is located, it is parked in a driveway and the driver is in the house drinking. It is impossible to know how much, if any, alcohol the driver had in his or her blood at the time of driving. Under the new law, if the person ends up being charged with an offence, the onus is on them to prove they had not been driving illegally within the preceding two hours. This change also avoids the situation where someone drinks a lot of booze quickly and speeds home so if they are stopped, the alcohol has not yet been absorbed into their blood. Police now can simply wait up to two hours for the alcohol to be absorbed.

Lawyer Daniel Brown gave the following example. A husband and wife go to a bar and the husband drives. He plans to drink but his wife will not and she will drive home. Police could enter the bar and, within two hours of the man driving, demand a breath sample. If he fails or refuses to blow he can be charged criminally. It matters not he was completely sober when he drove to the bar or that he had no intention of driving home after drinking. The onus is on him, not the state, to prove he did not drink and drive. If he has thousands of dollars to pay for lawyers and toxicologists, he has a chance of meeting this reverse onus and getting off. (CBC, Jan. 11)

The government justifies this abuse of peoples’ rights by saying they are essentially no big deal; the law if justified for the greater good of combating the evil of drinking and driving. And it’s no big deal to avoid problems with the police. People like Lightowler will just have to learn to make three trips to the beer store to return three cases of empties. And in Brown’s example, if the wife could drive home she could damn well have driven to the bar.

Not only are these changes in the law bringing Canada into a true police state where people are guilty unless they prove they are innocent, these changes are not likely to do anything to decrease drinking and driving. As Brown pointed out, it is almost unheard of that someone drinks quickly and then drives before the alcohol can be absorbed into their bloodstream. And, it is not that frequent that someone who is suspected of drinking and driving will make it to a place where they can drink before police show up.

Lightowler returned his beer bottles during the day on a Saturday. Yes there are some people who drive drunk during the day and these are mainly the hard core drinkers who most often, not always, have visible signs of impairment. In some places, most notably Toronto, there are a shortage of police officers. It has recently been reported, police will not respond to shoplifting reports unless the alleged shoplifters are still on the premises. The police officer who stopped Lightowler would have been better off driving around hoping to find real drunk drivers than watching the senior go into the beer store, waiting for him to leave, following him and stopping him.

And we are always told, there is a shortage of courtrooms, judges and prosecutors. Charging people with a drinking and driving offences where there is no evidence they had any alcohol in their system when they were behind the wheel will result in more trials; trials of criminal charges that should never have been laid in the first place.

And will police making these stops stick to old white guys like Lightowler or will they stop young black males. They will be tempted to stop young black males hoping they will be able to arrest them for drinking and driving, take them into custody and hopefully find a gun or two. This law will give a new meaning to the term DWB (driving while black) and if blacks are stopped in any number there will be cries of racism.

We are losing more and more of our rights under feel good laws that do absolutely no good.


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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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