Muskoka To-DAILY

Paddling while intoxicated will still be illegal, say Liberals

HUNTSVILLE — Tony Clement is glad to hear the Liberal government is backing down from excluding paddling while intoxicated from impaired driving laws.

The Parry Sound-Muskoka MP has been working with members of Thomas Rancourt`s family. Thomas was an eight-year-old Huntsville boy who died after he fell out of a tipped canoe on the Muskoka River near High Falls in April.

An Etobicoke man is facing charges in relation to the drowning death.

“Across Parry Sound and Muskoka there have been too many tragic deaths and accidents as a result of impaired paddling and boating over the years. It would be a gross oversight to not allow the police to lay charges where appropriate,” said Clement in a recent release.

“Changing the law would send the wrong message. It is plain and simple – alcohol and drugs do not mix when out paddling. If anything, the law should be made stronger in this regard, not weaker.”

The Liberal government`s Bill C-46 is amending Canada`s impaired driving laws, and was introduced in conjunction with legislation to legalize marijuana.

The original version of C-46 excluded vessels “propelled exclusively by means of muscular power.”

The changes raised alarm bells among advocacy groups, including the Canadian Safe Boating Council, wrote Clement.

After hearing from the Rancourt family, Clement discussed their concerns over C-46 with his Conservative Party colleague, Rob Nicholson, who is Justice Shadow Minister.

Earlier this month, the Justice committee reviewed C-46 and agreed to amendments that would allow police to continue to lay charges for impaired paddling.

“I wanted to make sure my Conservative colleagues on the Justice committee were aware of the tragic story of Thomas, and would support keeping impaired paddling on the books. I was glad this very point was raised at the Justice committee this week, and the Liberals agreed to keep the law status quo,” said Clement.

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Posted by on Oct 25 2017. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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