Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Am Disappointed Sam I Am

Nice going, Sam!

Only one province in Canada chooses not to suspend the license of a driver with a blood-alcohol level of .05 and that's Quebec. Long live drunk driving; innocent victims be damned!

In every other province, a blood-alcohol level of .05 is too high to be behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In every other province, driving with a blood-alcohol level of .05, or 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, will automatically get your license suspended for 24 hours.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving points out 20 per cent of drunk driving deaths are caused by drivers with a blood-alcohol level of between .05 and .08. Here in Quebec, it seems those lives are worth the gamble.

Why? Here's the explanation offered by Transport Minister Sam Hamad this week, "We have to listen to the people and Quebecers aren't there yet."

Are you kidding me?

Quebecers aren't "there" yet? Aren't "where" yet? They're unable to act like responsible members of society yet? Unable to make responsible choices yet? Too immature? Too stupid? We don't have enough jail cells to pack them all away?

Who did you ask, Sam, because I'm pretty sure it depends on the Quebecers you asked. You see, if you ask a Quebecer who's lost a loved one to a drunk driver, I have a feeling they're "there" now and have been "there" for a while. If you ask someone like myself, who doesn't drink and drive and who is often out on the road with my family, I'm "there" now!

If you ask other responsible Quebecers who buy into the "don't drink and drive" or, "if you drink, don't drive" philosophy, we're all "there" now. We'd certainly rather not be out on the road risking the lives of our loved ones as drunk drivers travel amongst us, whether their blood-alcohol levels are .05, or .08, or higher. We'd rather our loved ones never had to share the road with drunk drivers.

Don't you feel that way, Sam?

Have you spoken to anyone who's lost a loved one to a drunk driver? No other opinion should matter. One life lost is one too many.

On top of which, since when do you let Quebecers decide safety regulations? If it were up to Quebecers, mandatory seat belt use, 100 km/hr speed limits and warnings on cigarette packages would likely still be proposals.

Is human life worth more in other provinces?

In 2004, Nicolas Fortin was hit and killed by Gilles Francoeur in the Laurentians. The drunk driver drove from the scene of the accident with the 18 year old victim's body embedded in his windshield. Two other pedestrians suffered multiple fractures in the hit-and-run. Francoeur got two years. No justice there. Hmmm, perhaps human life is worth less in Quebec.

In November 1997, a young dentist who'd recently graduated from McGill University, Djavid Khales, was out for a walk when he was hit and killed by a drunk driver in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. The drunk driver, Edward Lariviere, had three times the legal limit in his blood, he was driving without a license and he was giving his 16 year old daughter a lift at the time. Lariviere got three years. No justice there. Clearly, human life is worth more in other provinces.

Alberta adopted a legal limit of .05 in 1975. It was adopted in British Columbia in 1979 and, in Ontario, in 1981. In Saskatchewan, the legal limit is .04. Even in France, where the legal limit was lowered to .05, human life is worth more.

When she was Quebec Transport Minister, Julie Boulet tried to have the legal limit lowered to .05. L'Action democratique and the Parti Quebecois united to reject her proposal. What's the problem, is there heavy drinking going on in caucus? Do too many contributors pull out of fund-raiser parking lots, tipsy?

In May 2001, drunk driver Andre Sweeney hit and killed 6 year old Kevin Lavallee in Masseuville. The little boy was riding a bicycle up and down the sidewalk with a friend. Sweeney had two previous drunk driving convictions. In Thetford Mines, in 2001, drunk driver Bertrand Gagne hit and killed 12 year old Marie-Pier Roy and her 9 year old brother, Mathieu.

I have a file crammed with disgusting drunk driving cases with even more nauseatingly flimsy sentences.

Listen, Sam, these are people who choose to put more alcohol in their bodies over choosing to act like responsible members of society. These are people who are choosing to drink and drive. Telling them .05 is ok is like saying it's ok to drink and drive just, if you can, try to avoid killing anybody.

Sam, you can't possibly be suggesting human life is worth more elsewhere. What happened to zero-tolerance? Once upon a time, wasn't that the goal?

You boast Quebec's going after repeat offenders? Nice, Sam, Russian roulette with innocent motorists. Think of our loved ones, Sam, out on the road late at night, steering their way through a crapshoot.

When you say, "We have to listen to the people", what exactly are the "people" saying? Are they saying, "Sam, we're driving drunk; Sam, we have alcoholism issues; Sam, we're a bunch of losers, leave us alone"? They're gratuitously killing and maiming people and your leniency is reprehensible.

In 2001, a 48 year old drunk driver was arrested in Laval, speeding along Souvenir Boulevard. It was his twelfth arrest for drunk drivng and his blood-alcohol was .20. That's a lot of gambling, Sam, old buddy.

The cops should be stationed at bars like the one down my street. They're not. It's all a big joke.

In some ways, Quebec can be so progressive and yet, when it comes to drunk driving, our Transport Minister speaks like an ignorant jackass who owes a beer company a favor.

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