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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 impaired.

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

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

May I continue?

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

I have one very quick question, and then I'll take Mr. Ménard's point of order afterwards.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

You said that the test was reliable. For me, the word “reliable” in French means the best you could do when you have nothing. Is that what you meant when you used this word?

10:30 a.m.

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

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Right, thank you.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Monsieur Ménard, on a point of order.

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Could you see where the committee stands? Since each of the political parties has asked a question and we have here an experienced volunteer, would it not be advisable, between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., to familiarize ourselves with the reliability of the technology being proposed? We could immediately suspend our questions and go to the test. In my opinion, it would be useful for the committee members.

Do you think that there would be a consensus to proceed as I have suggested and adjourn the meeting at 11 a.m. as scheduled? In any case, there is a strong possibility that we will not vote before 11 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at. I understand we have a test that's going to be performed.

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Chairman, since Mr. Bagnell is a volunteer, I would like to see how the technology—

10:30 a.m.

An honourable member

Mr. Hanger was not here at the beginning; so he is not aware of what is happening.

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Okay.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Mr. Lee, would you clarify that please?

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Welcome back to the chair.

In your unavoidable absence the committee decided to go ahead with the experimentation with the breathalyzer equipment, managed by Mr. Hodgson. It can go on while the committee meeting is proceeding.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Oh, yes.

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

There's no need to take a break to do it. Mr. Bagnell has already imbibed, and the first test has taken place.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

The first test has been completed.

To point out to committee members, when the second test is conducted, those who aren't asking questions may go over there to watch, but we'll continue with the questions.

June 12th, 2007 / 10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

On a point of clarification, I appreciate the fact that Mr. Bagnell has submitted to a test, but what are we doing?

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Well, I'm not quite sure.

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

If I may, Mr. Bagnell has consumed an alcoholic beverage. He was tested three minutes later and then 15 minutes later. I believe there's a possibility of a third test.

Mr. Hodgson can perhaps tell us that.

10:30 a.m.

Chair, Alcohol Test Committee, Canadian Society of Forensic Science

Brian Hodgson

Yes, I ran the instrument through its paces, and then I had Mr. Bagnell blow.

Unfortunately, sir, you didn't blow quite long enough and the instrument wouldn't accept the sample. It has given me an invalid sample test. We might have you start over again. If you want to drink the other half bottle of beer, you're perfectly welcome to do so, and then we can start the testing procedure.

Mr. Chair, I hope to demonstrate how the instrument operates and the external standard feature that checks whether or not the instrument is working properly. Hopefully, we can demonstrate the effects of mouth alcohol on readings.

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

All right.

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Chairman, it would be good to know what this device is used for, under what circumstances it is used, its reliability rating and how the test is administered. As I said before you got here, we will not support this bill if we do not have a better understanding of new detection technologies.

The more witnesses we hear from, the less convinced we are of this bill's relevancy. With regard to drugs, it seems clear that an entire aspect of the bill we are about to vote on is not relevant. So, since there are professionals here who are actually advising the department, why not take advantage of this opportunity?

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Why don't those who are interested in watching Mr. Hodgson conduct the first test go over there? He will explain what he's doing while you're observing Mr. Bagnell blow into the machine.

If there are other questions to be put to the remaining witnesses, we will do so while it is happening.

The explanation will take place. Mr. Hodgson, I'm sure you can inform the committee first and then do the test.

10:35 a.m.

Chair, Alcohol Test Committee, Canadian Society of Forensic Science

Brian Hodgson

Yes. Maybe I should point out that what I'm testing here is only for alcohol. I'm not doing other drug testing. It's a different matter altogether.

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

I thought Mr. Bagnell was doing something else.