Going a bit too far
A couple of pieces of legislation, one recently passed by the federal government and one being considered by the regional government, should give residents cause for concern, because they both infringe heavily on our rights as Canadian citizens.
The first is new legislation from the federal government concerning drinking and driving. While we normally applaud any measures to take drinking drivers off the road, Bill C-46, which came into effect last month, has a provision that is absolutely bizarre. It gives police the power to arrest someone for impaired driving if their blood alcohol concentration is more than .08 within two hours after they have been driving. In other words, if someone drives home from work, has a few drinks before supper and the police show up and find a BAC of more than .08, that person can be charged. And, under the legislation, it is against the law to refuse the test.
One lawyer offered the following possible scenario: a man drives to the bar knowing his wife will be the designated driver on the way home and she’s not going to be drinking. The husband drinks enough alcohol to put him over the limit. But because he has driven a vehicle within the previous two hours, police can legally enter the bar or wait for the couple to leave and demand a breath sample from the husband. Even if the husband is walking to the passenger side of the car, if he is now over 80 he could be arrested.
This is complete lunacy. A number of legal experts have opined that any charges laid in such a case would not stand up in court, but that doesn’t alter the fact that anyone so charged will not only be inconvenienced but possibly out of pocket, having to pay for a lawyer to represent them.
How then-federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould could have even considered including this in the new impaired driving bill, let alone approve of it, is mind-boggling.
The second piece of legislation is a new smoking by-law being considered by the Region of Durham, which it expects to pass sometime in April following comments from the municipalities. Among its provisions is one that prohibits smoking or vaping within a 20-metre radius of any public park or playground. Does that mean that every homeowner whose property backs onto Elgin Park or the Quaker Common or any other park in the township is not allowed to smoke in their own backyard? Does that mean homeowners on Marietta St. cannot smoke on their verandahs because they are less than 20 metres away from the Uxpool playground? Does anybody even think about these things when they’re coming up with these bylaws?
Not only that, the new by-law requires every business to post No Smoking and No Vaping signs on their premises. Presumably that includes the tiny one-room office of the Cosmos. But it doesn’t end there. Inspectors hired by the region to enforce this proposed new bylaw will be able to “at any reasonable time, enter any public place or workplace without warrant or notice for the purpose of determining whether there is compliance with this bylaw.” That means an inspector can waltz into any business, any time he or she sees fit and demand identification of anyone there and the occupants are not allowed to refuse.
As the Globe and Mail says, in a quote by Junius, which it has carried atop its editorial pages since the paper was founded: “The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures.” Both these pieces of legislation contain blatantly arbitrary measures. it won’t be good for the poor and the working stiffs.