Calgary-Acadia candidate says Albertans unhappy with new legislation

thumb wildrosecoasterThe Wildrose Party is pledging to withdraw the new drunk-driving legislation passed by the Alberta legislature in December.

It was one of the key pieces of legislation passed by Premier Alison Redford since she took office last October.

The law has not yet come into effect.


Richard Jones, Wildrose candidate for Calgary-Acadia, handed out drink coasters to the after work crowd during happy hour on Friday. The coasters promoted the party’s pledge to repeal Alberta’s new drunk driving legislation.
Photo by: Laura Lushington

“What we’ve heard from Albertans is that they don’t like Redford’s .05 law mainly because it doesn’t save lives, it criminalizes innocent Albertans and it hurts the hospitality industry,” said Richard Jones, Wildrose candidate for Calgary-Acadia.

Jones distributed drink coasters to bars along Stephen Avenue during happy hour on Friday afternoon. They touted “Repeal .05 law — Drink Responsibly” on one side, with “Say ‘No’ to Alison Redford — Vote Responsibly” on the other.

While the after-work crowd knocked back a few, they could consider the repercussions of the possible drive home.

One of the bars to take a stack of the coasters was the Below Deck Tavern. Manager Alex Shaw was happy to hear that the Wildrose would be pushing to get rid of the law whether they were in power or not.

“For downtown businesses, the fact that it’s .05 actually does affect our business in the sense when people could only have one glass of wine they now can’t do that because they’d be going over .05,” he claimed.

“So for them to want to have it back to .08, I think that’s a great thing for downtown.”

But for others, bringing back the .08 legal limit for driving under the influence is a step in the wrong direction.

 Current drunk-driving legislation (passed in December 2011):

  •  Penalties for first time drivers who have a blood-alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08, such as a three-day licence suspension and impounding of vehicle on a first offence
  • Second offences would see a 15 day licence suspension, a seven day vehicle seizure and a mandatory education course
  • A third offence would be penalized with a 30 day licence suspension
  •  Repeat offenders can see a seven day licence suspension
  • There would also be stiffer penalties for individuals who have a blood-alcohol level above 0.08, such as the impounding of a vehicle until the charges are resolved in court

    Note: This law is not yet in effect

“I think it’s dumb on their behalf,” said pedestrian Ryan Lemiski. “I have a friend, when I was in junior high, whose dad was killed by a drunk driver so I have basically no sympathy for people who drive while they are intoxicated.

“It would be unfortunate if they actually went back on what’s been done. We should be moving forward, not back.”

The Wildrose would be tabling a new version of the drunk-driving laws in replacement, said Jones. This would include adding more check-stops and other types of enforcement.

“Initially the .05 sounds good when you say, ‘Well, we’re going to get all the drunks off the road,’” said Jones. “But the question is, at .05, studies show that you’re not drunk, you’re not impaired. It’s at .08 that you’re impaired. So we want to make sure that those are the people you go after, not the innocent Albertans.”

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