Letters to the Editor

Cannan’s bill targets drinking drivers

A private member’s bill put forward by local MP Ron Cannan calling for a lower maximum blood alcohol content for drinking drivers inched forward yesterday in the House of Commons.

“It was the first time I had the opportunity to present a private member’s bill as the member from Kelowna- Lake Country,” said Cannan, who added he was very encouraged by some of the comments he received from his colleagues.

“The Bloc (Quebecois) member thought the idea was commendable but said there should be more of an education campaign,” said Cannan.

“The Liberals said we should be going after the hardcore drinking drivers.”

Cannan’s bill C-376 received its first of two hours of debate and will receive another hour of debate in the House of Commons in 30 to 60 days.

If the bill is voted forward—private members’ bills rarely make it past first reading—it will be scrutinized by a Commons committee before going through second reading and another vote.

He dismissed the suggestion that lowering the blood alcohol content maximum to .05 per cent from .08 per cent would have little effect on hardcore drinking drivers.

Cannan’s bill would amend the Criminal Code to add a second tier of fines and other penalties for drivers who register a blood alcohol content of between .05 and .0799

“There’s evidence from Sweden and Australia that shows a reduction in drinking driving across the board,” Cannan said.

He also cited support for the measure from the Canadian, British and American Medical Associations and the World Health Organization.

Cannan said he’s not heard of any opposition to the bill and has received some support from some unexpected sources. “The fellow who owns Tree Brewing in Kelowna said he supports the bill,” he added.

“Impaired driving remains the number one cause of criminal death in Canada, more than all other causes of homicide combined,” Cannan said. “A .05 per cent provision will save lives.”

jmcdonald@kelownacapnews.com

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