OTTAWA, October 25, 2017 – Bill S-230 tabled by Senator Carignan and aiming to provide police with tools to screen drug-impaired driving was defeated by the Justin Trudeau government during its second reading in the House of Commons today. This bill had been passed unanimously by the Senate. Because of this Commons vote, bill S-230 not be studied in committee and important witnesses who could have advised parliamentarians on this major issue linked to the upcoming legalization of cannabis will not be heard. Opposition parties voted in favour of the bill.
For Senator Carignan, this snub from the Liberal government is extremely disappointing and especially irresponsible. “This government is being told by everyone that the provinces, police authorities and medical sector will not be ready to manage the consequences of legalizing cannabis. My bill gave us the opportunity to quickly equip police with tools to screen drug-impaired drivers and, in so doing, to send a clear message to future substance users. In contrast, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals opted for partisanship and for killing this bill so they can adopt theirs (C-46) sometime next spring. It is disappointing, it is irresponsible ,and it shows a clear lack of vision. Prevention must precede the legalization of marijuana. Bill S-230 went in that direction. Young Canadians will be the greatest victims of legalization; it is their life in the balance. Evidently, the Trudeau government has missed another opportunity to prevent deaths on the roads and, more importantly, to send a clear message that driving and drug use do not mix,” said the outraged Senator.
Essentially, bill S-230 aimed to amend the Criminal Code to authorize the use of roadside screening devices by police to detect the presence of drugs in the body of drivers suspected of being drug-impaired. Police do not have the tools required to keep drug-impaired drivers off the road. The bill would have helped prevent devastating human tragedies in Canada, as is the case in several countries.
In conclusion, Senator Carignan said: “Knowing that a great number of road deaths are due to drug-impaired driving, I was very confident that my colleagues in the House of Commons, most of whom are fathers or mothers, would be sensitive to the goals set out in my bill, and that they would have given the attention and seriousness this kind of bill required. Despite my disappointment, I want to once again thank my colleague, the Member of Parliament for Richmond-Arthabaska, Mr. Alain Rayes, who sponsored my bill in the House of Commons. I would also like to thank the opposition parties in the Commons who supported my bill, as well as all the Senators who voted unanimously in its favour.”
Jacques Hébert, Director of Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Honourable Senator Claude Carignan, P.C.
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