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The CAQ closes the door to an intensification of the fight against drunk driving

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Minister Geneviève Guilbault affirmed that Quebec is already putting forward some of the most severe sanctions in the country against impaired drivers.

Geneviève Guilbault on Wednesday closed the door to tightening sanctions against drunk driving.

The Minister of Transport spoke during a debate on a motion tabled by the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ) calling for administrative sanctions against motorists whose alcohol level is between 50 mg ( 0.05) and 80 mg per 100 ml of blood (0.08), i.e. in the interval preceding the application of the penalties currently provided for by the Criminal Code.

In the House, Ms. Guilbault affirmed that Quebec is already putting forward some of the most severe sanctions in Canada against impaired drivers. “If we take the example of comparing ourselves to the rest of Canada, overall, we are generally very strict in Quebec,” she noted.

The minister notably gave the example of the imposition of ignition interlock devices fitted with a breathalyzer for life on certain repeat alcohol offenders. “It is reasonable to think that people would have taken the road if they had not been forced to take a breather. »

Ms Guilbault listed all the penalties introduced since 1996, when impaired driving was criminalized, to highlight their impact on road safety. “There has been a change in mentalities, awareness, and responsibility on the part of everyone,” she underlined.

The minister also highlighted that in a road safety bill currently under consideration, she is proposing to impose a two-year period of zero tolerance to alcohol for new motorcyclists.

Cri du coeur

The author of the motion which will be put to the vote on Thursday, Liberal MP Monsef Derraji, deplored that Ms. Guilbault is sticking to her positions. “We are missing a golden opportunity to reduce the number of fatal accidents,” he declared at Salon Bleu.

He pointed out that Quebec is the only province not to impose sanctions from 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, and he pleaded for the Legault government to surrender to the arguments of the National Institute of Health public of Quebec (INSPQ). “I hope that with the arguments that we are going to put on the table, the government will finally hear the cry of the heart of several organizations,” hoped the elected liberal when opening the debate.

Mr. Derraji referenced a recent INSPQ analysis indicating that the risk of collision and injury is significantly increased when blood alcohol levels reach 0.05. From this threshold, drivers are therefore less able to react in an emergency situation.

The issue resurfaced in the news last week following a new controversy surrounding the political fundraising activities of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ). Elizabeth Rivera and her husband, Antoine Bittar, whose daughter Jessica died in 2017 in an accident involving alcohol, called for a tightening of the criteria leading to sanctions, as part of the study of Ms. Guilbault's bill .

MP Derraji also committed to presenting an amendment to this bill to lower the amount of alcohol tolerated to 50 mg per 100 ml of blood.

Quebec in solidarity in agreement

Solidarity MP Étienne Grandmont was in favor of the PLQ motion. He stressed that administrative sanctions would not criminalize drink driving at 50 mg per 100 ml of blood. He gave the example of sanctions such as the suspension of a driving license for a few days or the issuance of a fine. “It’s a simple warning to people to be careful with their alcohol consumption,” he said.

The PQ leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, for his part reserved his position for later. “There is nothing on this in our program, which obliges us to devote almost the entirety of our caucus today to a deliberation of this question,” he said.< /p>

No PQ MP took part in Wednesday's debate, and it was impossible to know whether the party will vote on Thursday for or against the PLQ motion.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116