Evidence of meeting #76 for Justice and Human Rights in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was alcohol.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Brian Hodgson  Chair, Alcohol Test Committee, Canadian Society of Forensic Science
  • Shirley Treacy  Chair, Drugs and Driving Committee, Canadian Society of Forensic Science
  • Douglas Beirness  Manager, Research and Policy, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Tamra Thomson  Director, Legislation and Law Reform, Canadian Bar Association
  • Mitchell MacLeod  Executive Member, National Criminal Justice Section, Canadian Bar Association
  • Louise Dehaut  member, Alcohol Test Committee, Canadian Society of Forensic Science
  • Jacques Lecavalier  Associate, Research and Policy, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Well, Mr. Chairman—

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Art Hanger

You have one more question, Mr. Lee.

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

It's just a follow-up. You're saying that there is no definition of drug for purposes of these other sections.

10:45 a.m.

Associate, Research and Policy, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Okay. Thank you.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Art Hanger

Mr. Norlock.

June 12th, 2007 / 10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

This question will be for the toxicologist.

Ms. Treacy, probably most people out there in the real world, let's call it, have known for years that alcohol causes impairment, and the more alcohol you have, the more impaired you become, except perhaps in situations where some people are a little more resistant than others.

Tell me if I'm wrong. Canada is not quite the same as other countries. The law says that after a certain amount you're deemed to have too much alcohol in your system to be able to legally drive a motor vehicle, irrespective of your resistance to the effects of alcohol. Would that be correct?

10:45 a.m.

Chair, Drugs and Driving Committee, Canadian Society of Forensic Science

Shirley Treacy

That's correct regarding alcohol, yes.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Would it also be correct that, in toxicological terms, alcohol is a poison?

10:45 a.m.

Chair, Drugs and Driving Committee, Canadian Society of Forensic Science

Shirley Treacy

Well, yes. Actually, anything can be a poison if you take enough of it. Yes, your body does think of alcohol as a poison; it tries to get rid of it. Sure.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

So we know that all alcohol causes some degree of impairment and that the law says that after so much alcohol you are not legally able to drive.

10:45 a.m.

Chair, Drugs and Driving Committee, Canadian Society of Forensic Science

Shirley Treacy

That's a specific offence, yes.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Because we've studied alcohol to death in this country.

10:45 a.m.

Chair, Drugs and Driving Committee, Canadian Society of Forensic Science

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Okay. So now we move on to some other problems in our society. We used to have an alcohol or.... And we continue to have problems with alcohol and driving. But we live in the real world now, and we know that our children, and many adults, some of whom occupy every profession in this country, consume other drugs—like marijuana, like cocaine—and numerous other prescribed drugs. I want you to tell me if I'm wrong, but from a toxicological point of view with respect to the behaviour of a human being who consumes them—and Mr. Lecavalier may want to step in—those drugs do have an effect on our motor skills and on our ability to do certain things, not the least of which is driving. Would that be correct?