Canada got some shiny new drunk driving laws late last year. I should be happy about this since on the penalty end there looks to be some promise, but unfortunately that promise is being negated by the way we’re getting to the penalty stage.
New rules that increase penalties for drunk driving and expand police powers to demand breath samples take effect across Canada on Tuesday, with some predicting the law will face a series of legal challenges.
The legislation, which passed in June at the same time as new rules for drug-impaired driving, is intended to curb injuries and death by helping police catch drivers with more than the legal limit of alcohol in their bloodstreams.
It gives police officers the right to ask for a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop, lowering the bar from the previous legislation, which required that an officer have reasonable suspicion that a person had been drinking. Such a system is already in place in more than 40 countries.
I’m going to go ahead and dust off 2010 me to save 2019 me the bother of having to write the same thing again.
What a great idea. Let’s do away with all that pesky probable cause and individual rights junk and let the police do whatever they want. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
There’s a reason why police have to be suspicious before the wheels of justice can make you blow in a tube. It’s the same reason why the cops can’t just knock on your door early on a lazy Sunday morning and rifle through all your stuff just because they feel like it. It should be allowed because they might find something is not a good argument for doing away with years and years of reasonable procedure designed to offer a bit of protection to the public against overzealous authorities. You can’t make criminals out of everyone just because somebody somewhere might actually be one.
Yet that’s exactly what we’re doing. And who cares if 40 other countries already do it? Forty other countries do a lot of things. If I sit here and think a while, I’m sure I could come up with a list of 40 countries that drag people through what passes for courts for saying the wrong thing or not praying hard enough to the mandatory god. Canada should never follow those leads, and it shouldn’t have followed this one either. Instead of trampling everyone’s basic rights, let’s maybe work more on fixing the parts of the system that allow the Marco Muzzos of the world to murder three small children and an old man and only serve ten years tops. That’s the real problem here.