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House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was park.

Topics

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2000 / 10:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There is one motion in amendment listed in the notice paper at report stage of Bill C-18.

Motion No. 1 will be debated and voted on.

I will now put Motion No. 1 to the House.

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10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-18 be amended by deleting Clause 2.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this amendment is to make the government realize that the Bloc Quebecois is opposed to Bill C-18. This bill will increase the maximum penalty for impaired driving causing death from 14 years to life imprisonment.

The Bloc Quebecois feels that the 14 year sentence currently provided under the Criminal Code is adequate and reflects the seriousness of the offence. We are simply proposing to delete clause 2 of this bill, which changes the penalty for that crime.

Bill C-18 gives us an opportunity to reflect on the appropriateness of a jail sentence. In doing so, we must first ask ourselves about the needs of the victim, of the offender and of the community once a crime has been committed.

Victims need to express what they went through and to receive compensation for the harm caused to them. They also need to have their rights upheld.

Offenders, on the other hand, need to understand their actions and to take responsibility for them. They should be given the opportunity to explain their action to the victim and also to change their behaviour.

The community also has needs that must be met. Those needs are more abstract, but they are just as important. The community wants to be protected from crimes. Sometimes, a token bid of restitution is necessary to repair the harm caused to the community. Doing community work is a good example of a measure that makes up for the prejudice caused by the offender to the community.

Are these needs met by imposing a jail sentence? I am tempted to say that they are not entirely met under the existing system and that they are sometimes not met at all.

The main reason for this situation is that the system pays more attention to the fact that a criminal act is perceived as a violation of a law, rather than as an action that causes a prejudice to the victim and to the community. Within this view of criminal justice we are seeking to punish the offender instead of trying to remedy the harm he has done to the victim.

The preferred way of punishing criminals these days seems to be imprisonment. We are stuck in our present approach for determining sentences and the reason we are is that we have no other means for responding to the needs of the community, the victim and the perpetrator.

The Bloc Quebecois does not see any way in which increasing to life imprisonment the 14 year sentence for impaired driving causing death can meet the needs of the community, the victim and the perpetrator.

The message the Bloc Quebecois is attempting to deliver here is not that imprisonment must never be used. We know that, under certain circumstances, there is no other solution but imprisonment to meet the needs of victims and the community.

The criminal code provides a maximum sentence of 14 years for impaired driving causing death, and we do not feel that increasing this to a life sentence will do anything more than punish for the sake of punishment.

As we have said on a number of occasions, the rate of imprisonment in Canada is the highest of all democratic countries in the west, with the exception of the United States. It has, moreover, been proven that not only do incarceration rates and sentence lengths do nothing to improve the rate of recidivism and the crime rate in general, but they sometimes have the opposite effect, and make it worse.

Nevertheless, we continue to incarcerate people and the federal prison population is increasing at a rate that points to a 50% rise within the next 10 years.

The adult correctional system cost some $2 billion in 1992.

It cost about $52,000 a year to keep one offender in prison, whereas it would have cost $10,000 to supervise an offender in the community. Where are we going with Bill C-18?

The minister is not addressing the problems coherently and is proposing a simplistic solution to the scourge of impaired driving.

I would like to conclude with an example to illustrate my remarks. I refer to the case of Kevin Hollinsky of Windsor, Ontario. The events of which date back to 1994.

This young man went with friends, as many adolescents will do, to a bar in downtown Windsor. On his way back, at the wheel of his 1985 Firebird, he and his friends tried to catch the attention of a group of girls in another car. Kevin Hollinsky was driving too fast and lost control of his car in a dangerous curve.

The consequences of these acrobatics were disastrous. Two of Kevin's friends died in the accident, two others were injured. Kevin himself was not hurt.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving causing death. For dissuasion purposes, the crown prosecutor sought a sentence of 8 to 14 months imprisonment, in order to teach a lesson to other young drivers.

Local police who worked on the case felt that a very clear message needed to be sent that impaired driving causing death would carry a jail sentence.

Kevin did not go to jail. This was because of the extraordinary actions of the parents of the two boys who were killed and a courageous and innovative judge, who dared to hand down a community service sentence instead.

Here is what was decided. With the co-operation of the Windsor police, a program was set up whereby Kevin would visit schools with what remained of his car to speak to students about the events of that tragic evening.

Kevin Hollinsky was sentenced to 750 hours of community service and met with 8,300 students in the course of this innovative program.

For anyone doubtful about the effectiveness of this sentence, I should mention that, during the summer following Kevin's presentations, no secondary school students were involved in any serious or fatal car collisions in the counties of Windsor or Essex.

A secondary school principal told the police that he was sure that this initiative would save lives. During his 30-year career as a teacher, he had never heard a talk that had such a powerful impact on students.

Admittedly the dissuasive effect would not have been the same if young Kevin had been given a jail sentence.

This case was appealed by the crown prosecutor. Let us not forget that the appeal courts have established that a jail sentence is appropriate in almost all cases of death resulting from a highway accident caused by gross negligence. In November 1995, after deliberating half an hour, three appeal court judges confirmed the initial sentence.

There are many people who have committed a serious crime for which jail is not necessary and could even be ineffective for the offender and for the real needs of the community. That is why the Bloc Quebecois is vigorously opposed to Bill C-18 and is proposing that clause 2 simply be dropped from the bill.

I urge all members of the House to reflect on the consequences of tougher sentences for impaired driving offences. I hope that the example I have given will convince them to support the Bloc Quebecois amendment.

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10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wonder if I could ask for the indulgence of the House to revert to routine business to allow me to present a unanimous committee report from the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs.

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10:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to revert to presentation of reports from committees?

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10:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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10:30 a.m.

Erie—Lincoln Ontario

Liberal

John Maloney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-18.

The bill before us today is in part the product of the work done by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

The standing committee tabled its report “Toward Eliminating Impaired Driving” on May 25, 1999, one year ago. The committee appended to that report a draft bill that the government followed very closely when it introduced Bill C-82 on June 7, 1999.

At the time of introduction, Bill C-82 included a provision that would have increased the maximum penalty for impaired driving causing death from 14 years imprisonment to life imprisonment. This provision was removed from Bill C-82 and then placed in Bill C-87. As amended, Bill C-82 passed and came into force on July 1, 1999. Bill C-87 died on the order paper.

In October 1999 during this current session, the government tabled its response to the committee report on impaired driving. The government response indicated the intention to reintroduce the provision found in Bill C-87 that would increase the maximum penalty for impaired driving causing death to life imprisonment. In December 1999 the government introduced Bill C-18 which includes the provision relating to impaired driving causing death.

Raising the maximum penalty for impaired driving causing death will indicate that this crime is viewed with the same seriousness as manslaughter or criminal negligence causing death, which also carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. I remind the House that the maximum penalty is reserved for the worst offender and the worst set of circumstances.

Earlier this year the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a unanimous decision in the Proulx appeal. In the course of its reasons the court noted that:

—dangerous driving and impaired driving may be offences for which harsh penalties plausibly provide general deterrence. These crimes are often committed by otherwise law-abiding persons, with good employment records and families. Arguably, such persons are the ones most likely to be deterred by the threat of severe penalties.

To the extent that penalties deter, the amendment would help in the battle against impaired driving. The increased penalty would also be valuable for its denunciation of impaired driving causing death.

Bill C-18 also includes, as promised in the government response to the committee's report, a provision that was recommended by the committee but not included in the draft bill. This provision would amend section 256 of the criminal code by adding drugs as a basis to seek a warrant to obtain a blood sample.

This section currently allows a peace officer to apply for a warrant to obtain a blood sample from a driver based on alcohol consumption in certain circumstances. The peace officer must reasonably believe that the driver, within the previous four hours, was involved as a result of the consumption of alcohol in an accident resulting in injury or death. Also, it must be the opinion of a qualified medical practitioner that the driver is unable to consent to the taking of a blood sample and that taking the sample would not endanger the life or health of the person. It is anticipated that situations where police will seek a warrant for a blood sample based upon drug consumption will be relatively few and that these would involve illegal drugs or the abuse of legal drugs.

With the impaired driving causing death provision and with the blood sample provision, the government will have acted upon each of the recommendations for a specific criminal code amendment contained in the standing committee's report “Toward Eliminating Impaired Driving”.

Bill C-18 includes two other amendments. It would change the French version of the definition of a motor vehicle to indicate that these are vehicles moved otherwise than by muscular power. The English version does not have this problem.

Finally, Bill C-18 would delete the offence of driving while prohibited from the list of indictable offences that are within the absolute jurisdiction of a provincial court judge under section 553 of the criminal code. Bill C-82 of the previous session raised the maximum penalty for driving while prohibited from two years imprisonment to five years imprisonment. The charter of rights requires that an accused be given the right to a jury trial for an offence that carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment or more. The amendment in Bill C-18 will bring section 553 into compliance with the charter.

I am pleased that we have seen progress over the past dozen years in reducing the fatalities involving impaired driving. However, there is yet much distance on the road that lies ahead of us on our journey to eliminate impaired driving. Legislation alone will not eliminate impaired driving. I think we can agree that continued efforts by governments, public and private organizations, and families and individuals are required to eliminate impaired driving.

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10:35 a.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in support of Bill C-18. It should be clear that the Canadian Alliance has been supportive of this process from the very beginning going back to Bill C-82 as well as Bill C-18. These government bills came about because of a supply day motion introduced by the then Reform Party, the official opposition of Canada, back in 1998. Of course we support it and we commend the government for finally getting to the stage where we have the complete package together.

I want to speak for just a moment in opposition to the motion put forward by the Bloc. Through the different stages of this bill, including report stage, we have seen that the Bloc members basically have a different attitude toward those people in our society who would drink and drive. We firmly believe that this must be regarded by the Criminal Code of Canada and by parliament as a criminal offence because that is clearly what it is. It is not simply a social ill as the Bloc would have us believe; it is a serious criminal offence. Approximately 1,500 deaths a year in Canada and in excess of 80,000 injuries are a direct result of irresponsible unthinking people who would choose to drive their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I am happy the drug aspect has been introduced into taking of blood samples and the process that is involved.

Bill C-18 and clause 2, which the Bloc seeks to have removed, is not about the Kevin Hollinskys of this world and the Bloc member knows it. She knows that all through the committee stage we clearly discussed that the extension of the maximum sentence to give the judges more latitude was designed specifically to be used in the case where there are serious and aggravating factors involved in the offence.

We are not talking about the Kevin Hollinskys of the world, but about hard core offenders who have shown by their actions that they care nothing about the safety of society. They care nothing about the laws of the country. They care nothing about responsibility and on occasion after occasion have gotten into their automobiles while they were impaired, caused an accident and been arrested. If it was not the ultimate accident which resulted in the death of someone, they injured someone. While being under suspension and under the influence, they go out driving again, get caught and get some other sentence. Then they get out and are caught again driving while under suspension. We are talking about the incorrigible offenders. That was made very clear during all the discussions we had on Bill C-18.

We are talking about the incorrigible offenders who simply refuse to listen to the law. As a result, they make themselves a menace and a danger to society by their actions. They get behind the wheel of an automobile and pose a serious threat to everyone else on the roads. When they kill somebody, it is because they have not taken the responsibility. They have not recognized the law. They have not recognized the danger they have put the rest of society in.

They are clearly the type of person that for the sake of the safety of society and even for the sake of the safety of their own lives, should be sent to prison at the judge's discretion for a maximum life term. It removes them from the highways. It removes their irresponsible acts from the highways. It removes their menace from our highways. It protects society. That is what we are trying to do.

We strongly oppose the Bloc amendment. First of all, it is presented in the wrong vein. It is presented using an example such as Kevin Hollinsky which is clearly not the intent of Bill C-18 or clause 2.

We enthusiastically support Bill C-18. We commend the government for dealing with this. Mr. Speaker, you cannot imagine how it tears my heart to commend the government on a government bill but it is deserved. I am sure the government will return that praise to our party for introducing it in the first place as a supply day motion. We support the bill and hope for its quick passage.

In closing, I would like to ask the unanimous consent of the House, to delete the coming into force section of the bill in clause 5 which reads:

This act comes into force on a day to be fixed by order of the governor in council.

I would like to ask for the unanimous consent to delete this so as to allow the bill to take effect immediately upon royal assent.

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10:40 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this amendment?

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An hon. member

Agreed.

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10:40 a.m.

An hon. member

No.

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10:40 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to discuss the concern that is on the minds of every Canadian when it comes to safety on our roads and highways.

Before I start my preamble today, I would like to give a warm welcome to all those veterans and legion members who descended upon Halifax for the 38th Dominion convention. They had a wonderful parade on Sunday in the pouring rain. It was great to see Haligonians come out in pride to say thank you to the veterans and to the legion members for the continuing great work they do on behalf of our elderly veterans across the country. We are going to give a special tip of the salt and pepper cap to all those people across the country.

Also, I am wearing my tall ships pin today. I invite all members of parliament, their staff, anyone in the viewing audience and in Ottawa to come on down to Halifax between July 19 and 24 to witness the greatest gathering of tall ships in the history of our country, a great mariner nation.

Back to the subject at hand, when it comes to impaired driving, I do not think there is one Canadian or one parliamentarian who would not agree that this is something that we should not even be discussing in the new millennium. Impaired driving is a scourge and a curse in our society. Through proper education and enforcement hopefully we can reduce it or eradicate it completely. However, it does absolutely no good to put in all the toughest regulations possible if there is not proper enforcement.

Many communities in my riding never see a police officer for days. I am sure it is the same right across the country in the rural parts of the nation. The cuts to the RCMP and to provincial and municipal police forces have really put our roads in jeopardy not only in terms of impaired drivers but unsafe drivers right across the country.

If we are going to eradicate this problem and save lives, we must encourage the federal government and all provincial governments to reinvest in our law enforcement officers so they can have not only the proper safety checks on the road, roadblocks and everything else at New Year's and on special holidays but throughout the year. Spot checks are a great way of deterring the general public from drinking and driving.

Another problem is the lack of public transportation. There is absolutely no excuse for someone to drink and drive. Absolutely no excuse at all. In many cases an individual may have a bit too much to drink and because there is no access to public transportation, or quick access to it, that may encourage the individual, albeit not rightly of course, to think that because they cannot get a ride home and a cab is too expensive they will chance it and drive. We have to take that type of thinking away from the people who patron our taverns, bars and lounges, or who drink in their homes or their neighbours' homes. We have to encourage them to use public transportation or hire a cab if they are going to have a few drinks.

I have to give credit to the Brewers' Association of Canada. Over the last few years it has been very proactive in encouraging its customers who drink spirits, wines and beers to drink responsibly. Kudos go to that association for taking the lead approach in that regard, but there is much more it could do. It could start by putting voluntary labelling on bottles. Or, if it refuses to do that voluntarily, it could become mandatory that labelling be put on beer bottles, liquor bottles and so on to encourage people not to drink and drive. That is my personal point of view.

We have quite graphic advertising planned for cigarettes and I believe we should have the same on liquor bottles. I do not necessarily mean pictures, but a warning saying “Please do not drink and drive”. That would go a long way in encouraging people to understand that when they drink, getting into a vehicle is the worst thing they could possibly do.

MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is a wonderful association which reaches across this country. It deserves all kinds of kudos. I would go so far as to say that the individuals involved with MADD deserve the Order of Canada for all the great work they do in bringing this issue to the attention of all members of parliament and all legislatures across Canada. This organization brings awareness to this very terrible aspect of our society.

Statistically it is true that impaired driving charges have decreased through proper education and through efforts of organizations like MADD and the Brewers' Association of Canada. Those organizations encourage and educate all people in our society to not drink and drive. However, it still happens and there are many more things we could do.

Our enforcement people need adequate resources. We have heard enough excuses about budgetary cuts. If someone dies because of budgetary cuts, why the hell were those cuts made in the first place? There is a cause and effect to budgetary restraints and cuts. I am not saying we should operate on deficits for the sake of operating on deficits, but if essential services like policing are cut in Canada that will have an effect on road safety. We have many concerns about home invasion in rural communities. We also have problems with carjackings, drugs coming into Canada through our ports, poor morale in the RCMP and the municipal and provincial police forces, which are a direct cause of the cuts these departments have had to face.

All of the police officers I have met love to do what they do. They love to serve their country in their capacity as law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, the support they receive from the federal and provincial governments is not adequate. That has to change. I believe if we can change the thinking of all governments at all levels and work co-operatively together with law enforcement agencies we could reduce drunk driving. It is difficult to control 31 million people and their individual behaviour, but we could reduce drinking and driving even more.

It is most unfortunate that the member for Prince George—Bulkley Valley was unable to get unanimous consent to have this legislation passed quickly. As the House knows, we will be rising possibly this Friday or next week. I would encourage this government and all members of parliament to put aside their political differences and move to quickly pass this bill. It would be the right thing to do. We must do everything we can to protect our children, our families and anybody visiting Canada who travels on our highways and byways, regardless of which political party we belong to.

I encourage all members of parliament to support this initiative and to do it quickly so that we can protect lives on our streets in Canada.

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10:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to take part in the debate, which everyone is aware focuses on a motion that is now before the House to essentially remove a subsection of the criminal code, which is before us within Bill C-18. The proposed subsection arrived back here, and I would suggest it is arguably the most important part of much needed and anticipated legislation pertaining to impaired driving.

The proposed subsection would replace subsection 255(3) of the criminal code with the following:

(3) Every one who commits an offence under paragraph 253(a) and thereby causes the death of any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

This bill is very much aimed at the emphasis and putting forward parity in the criminal code with respect to individuals who embark on this type of reckless behaviour that results in threats to life and limb. We have seen repeatedly the carnage on the highways that is the end result of impaired driving. This is a criminal code change that would address that particular problem in a direct way.

The Conservative Party of Canada was very encouraged when the government and all other opposition parties, with the exception of the Bloc, finally came around to support Bill C-18.

We know that last year there was capitulation on the part of other parties when the government agreed to take this proposed subsection out at the urging of the Bloc Quebecois. Members of our party were very tough with this particular item and insisted that it remain, and we did receive personal assurances from the Minister of Justice that this bill would be reintroduced as a stand-alone. I want to acknowledge and commend the minister for following through on her word. Sadly, we have not seen her ability to deliver Bill C-3, the new youth criminal justice act, with the same level of efficiency, or timeliness.

Bill C-82 was the original bill from which this proposed subsection was deleted. It was because our party was insistent on it being reintroduced that we see it here today. After that long period of delay, it is encouraging. The timing, of course, is very important. With the summer months now upon us, graduations coming up, with more and more people on the highways headed to cottages and to the shore, impaired driving sadly is a threat to all individuals on the highways. This bill would send a proper message of deterrence, both general and specific deterrence, for those who are foolhardy enough to embark on impaired driving and jeopardize other's lives in a very serious way.

All members of the committee will recall, and I certainly recall, working closely with members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who have been very much in support of changes to toughen up our legislation pertaining to impaired driving, and this subsection in particular was one upon which they were insistent.

The life imprisonment provision does send the message of deterrence that we seek to send. I want to personally thank members of MADD for their consistent support for legislative change, and this bill in particular.

I also want to acknowledge the contribution of all members of the justice committee for enabling this legislation to make it through the committee, and to do so quickly. Now that we have the amendment at report stage, although I know the Bloc Quebecois may be opposed to this provision, I do commend and acknowledge its commitment to exercising its right to oppose and to its participation in the debate.

I hope the report stage will not be delayed any further, particularly with respect to this important legislation, with the timetable we have and the likelihood that parliament will wrap up this week.

I spoke earlier of the summer vacations that our now upon us. There are many families and individuals across the country who will be on the roads, and needlessly impaired drivers could cause fatalities and absolute horrific carnage to individual lives.

The hard-core drinkers who continue to embark on this exercise of drinking and driving, getting behind the wheel and endangering Canadian lives, is exactly the type of individual who this bill addresses.

The message that drinking and driving will not be tolerated in that form and fashion is one that we wish to send from this place forward.

From day one the Conservative Party stressed this as a priority. The government has acknowledged that by bringing it forward today. It is high time that we put emphasis on the protection of human lives and the needless tragedies and loss of life that we see on the roads and highways throughout the country. They are a testament to the need and to the void that existed prior to this bill coming into effect.

During the original debate of Bill C-82 we were very worried when other parties softened their position with respect to the life imprisonment aspect of the bill. This was done, many will recall, in exchange for speedy passage through the House, but now we have come full circle and we are seeing the inclusion of this important provision.

The bill is now before us in a separate form, but it very much complements and works with the previous legislative changes that took place in the last session. This will improve the bill and will give police further powers and the courts the further ability to mete out sentences that are more indicative and more reflective of the serious type of negligent behaviour that is encompassed by impaired drivers.

Bill C-3 was another important bill that we would have liked to have seen come through, as I mentioned earlier, but that has not happened. However, we do embrace this bill and support it wholeheartedly.

The Conservative Party has been adamant all along that the provision of life imprisonment be reinstated and that judges be allowed greater leeway, greater discretion to reflect public outrage and public sentiment about the seriousness of taking another's life through an automotive accident where alcohol is involved.

Tragically, many people have experienced an impaired driving accident. There are few Canadians who have not been touched by the tragedy of an impaired driving accident. Careless actions and careless behaviour of drivers when it involves alcohol have to be treated with the same type of response that we see in other actions that are reflected in the criminal code.

Criminal offences involving drunk drivers declined by 23% between 1994 and 1997, but we do know that there are staggering numbers who are not caught and continue to drive under the influence. It is hoped that through the efforts of all present we will have this legislation before the Canadian people. It will benefit all in the country and send a message of deterrence that is so important in changing and refocusing the attitudes toward this criminal behaviour.

That is very much a part of this exercise. Putting forward a more vehement message of deterrence, emphasizing that this is behaviour that will not be tolerated, emphasizing that this is the type of behaviour that will warrant serious criminal sanctions up to life imprisonment, will help to send that message out.

If and when Bill C-18 passes, the Liberal government should not rest on its laurels, for certainly it and all governments should continue their fight against impaired driving. Many suggest that we should be lowering alcohol levels even further, some to a zero tolerance level. There was lengthy discussion of other ways to approach the problem of impaired driving, so the fight is not over and there is more to be done.

Ontario and Alberta are two provinces that have been at the forefront in bringing forward legislative changes and putting in place provincial statutes to address this problem. Provincial statistics show that more than 300 people were killed in drunk driving related accidents in the year 1997. In Ontario there is a legislative initiative that if caught three times for impaired driving a lifetime suspension will follow.

We know that fines have been increased. Judges now have the ability to impose sanctions with respect to the use of driver interlock systems, which is an innovative technical advance that will allow a person convicted of impaired driving to continue driving if they comply and take full responsibility for the cost of installation.

It is time for the government to follow the lead of some of the provinces that are moving in that direction. Innocent victims who are killed as a result of thoughtlessness and selfishness on the part of impaired drivers have to be addressed in a serious way. The federal government has an opportunity to send the message that drinking and driving will not be tolerated. Bill C-18 is a step in that direction.

This legislative initiative, as I said, complements legislation that was brought in in the last session, legislation that expanded the window of time that police have to take samples up to three hours. The legislation also strictly enforced the .08 blood alcohol concentration level and made effective amendments to help police in the performance of their duties. Surveys indicate that it takes police officers on average two hours and 48 minutes to process criminal code charges involving impaired driving. Therefore, there is a greater need for a streamlined approach to the way in which impaired drivers are handled by the police. Physical sobriety tests and passive alcohol sensors will also help the police in their important task.

As well, we know there is a need to fill another gaping hole in the criminal code as it pertains to impairment by drugs, which is not as easy to detect as alcohol. The province of British Columbia has taken very innovative steps in training police officers to be able to recognize the impairment symptoms brought about by the use of drugs.

Police do their very best, and I commend all officers and those involved in the criminal justice system, but they are often frustrated by the fact that technicalities result in cases being thrown out of court on many occasions. Police are still denied the right to demand an automatic breath or blood sample from those involved in accidents.

I just wanted to indicate that there is more that can be done. I believe education plays a big part in that. Part of this debate will hopefully educate the public in that regard.

Parliament has put aside its partisan attitudes on this level. We are glad to see this legislation come in. Graduations are coming up and we hope that all students will embark on a very safe, alcohol free graduation.

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11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Is the House ready for the question?

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11 a.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

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11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The question is on Motion No. 1. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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11 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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11 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

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11 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

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11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

All those opposed will please say nay.

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11 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

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11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

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11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

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11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Accordingly the vote stands deferred.