Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback`s Bill C-590 Passes Second Reading

October 9, 2014
A copy of Mr. Hoback`s Bill C-590 can be downloaded here.

Legislation would establish more severe penalties on offenders with twice the legal blood alcohol content  

MP Randy Hoback`s Bill C-590 (An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Blood Alcohol Content) passed second reading in the House of Commons with support from all political parties. Bill C-590 will now be studied by the House of Commons Standing on Justice and Human Rights.

Hoback`s Bill would establish more severe penalties for offenders who have a blood alcohol content exceeding twice the legal limit. Such offenders would be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years. Penalties for a first offence conviction would also result in a minimum fine of $2,000 and a minimum 60 day prison term. In the case of a second or subsequent offence, the minimum imprisonment term would be 240 days.

Those with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit who harm or kill someone, would also be additionally penalized: (a) a minimum fine of $5,000 and a minimum 120 day prison term (first offence); and (b) a minimum 12 month prison term (second or subsequent offence).

The text of Mr. Hoback`s speech just prior to the vote thanking his parliamentary colleagues for their support of his bill is as follows:

Mr. Randy Hoback (Prince Albert, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all of my colleagues for their suggestions and good advice on this piece of legislation.

This legislation came about because of a guy by the name of Ben Darchuk. Ben Darchuk was the owner of Ben's Auto Glass. He was killed by a drunk driver, a drunk driver who was also under the influence of drugs. Ben had a family. He had a business. The impact on his family, his business, and the community was immense.

It seemed to me that we needed to do something to take guys who are over twice the legal limit off the road. It seemed to me that we needed to have some teeth in a piece of legislation so that when these people hit the courts, they would not just go through that revolving door; they would actually have consequences for being over twice the legal limit.

This bill would not fix everything. There is more we need to do to address drinking and driving. There are more ideas out there on prevention and maybe on the criminalization side of things too. I am open to all of those ideas. There is no question about that.

The goal, at the end of the day, is to get these guys off the road, to get these guys out from behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. It is a very simple goal.

It heartens me, and I am happy to see, that my colleagues are going to let the bill go to committee. This is great, because the committee can do great work on this piece of legislation. It could improve it, and in fact, I hope it does improve it.

I appreciate the constructive criticism from members of the House. I appreciate the professionalism my colleagues showed toward this piece of legislation. They took partisanship out of this legislation and focused on what we are trying to accomplish here today.

I am excited and happy to see the bill go to committee. I know that the committee will do the great work that I know committees can do. We can all take comfort in knowing that when this piece of legislation passes, we will have made a step forward that will probably save even more lives. At the end of the day, that is what we want to do. We want to save lives.

I would like to thank all of my colleagues for their support on this piece of legislation.

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