Idea alert

Rob Nicholson reportedly raises the prospect of random breathalyzer tests.

The federal justice minister is considering a new law that would allow police to conduct random breathalyzer tests on drivers, regardless of whether they suspect motorists have been drinking.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson raised the prospect recently at a meeting of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, according to MADD chief executive Andrew Murie.

If random testing were to be adopted, it would be a major change to Canada’s 40-year-old breathalyzer legislation, which stipulates that police may only administer a test if they suspect a driver has been drinking.




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Idea alert

  1. Nice…the CPC wants to give police carte blanche for harassment….why not just have them follow us around like in the good ol' days of the Soviet Union? We already have the billboards and the flyers…

  2. Yes.. such a drastic change from the officer saying "Yeah, I suspected you'd been drinking" to saying, "Yeah, I wanted to pull you over."

    It's a totally subjective opinion by the officer at the time in either case.

  3. Doesn't the RIDE Program launched every Christmas consist of random tests?

    I think this is just a way for the State to be even more obtrusive than it already is. Police would assume all drivers are drunk until proven otherwise.

    • It's completely different – RIDE randomly stops drivers and *talks* to them before suggesting a breathalyser. Under this new totalitarian nightmare, the cop wouldn't talk to you first. And might shoot you, torture you or disappear you rather than administer a breathalyser (I'm extrapolating that last bit from comments). Seriously, if we allow this, how long will it be before there are cameras at the stoplights to catch drivers running red lights or radar cameras to fine speeding drivers? If we can't be safe from state scrutiny while endangering others on public streets, where can we be safe?

      • Maybe we should have police go door to door, performing 'random' inspections to ensure no illegal behaviour is occurring. There is no material difference between that and unwarranted breathalizer tests.

        • When you're pulled over in a car, for whatever reason, you need to show license and registration. The police then check whether there are outstanding warrants against you or the vehicle. This has been the case for a number of years and I have yet to have an officer come to my door and do the same. Does it happen regularly in your neighbourhood?

  4. This is a terrible idea. The concerns raised about civil liberties are valid.

    • You latte-drinking, soft on crime, hippie leftie, you.

      • Wait until you hear my thoughts on marijuana prohibition. I think that possession of small amounts should be effectively decriminalized, though large-scale grow ops and organized crime should continue to be targeted by the law.

      • Wait until you hear my thoughts on marijuana prohibition! I think that possession of small amounts should be effectively decriminalized, though large-scale grow ops and organized crime should continue to be targeted by the law.

        • Its only "organized crime" because pot (at least the production side) is illegal. If you want to deprive organized crime of a major source of revenue, and end a whole host of problems with pot, then legalize it 100%. We can then focus our resources on preventing minors from getting it. Imagine a Canada full of safe marijuana produced by profit-seeking corporations. It is only a matter of time before other countries legalize themselves. If Canada makes a move first (and legalizes pot in a free market way, rather than the Dutch approach) Canadian pot can be the French wine of the world of marijuana (actually I am reliably informed that it sort of already is).

        • You you you pinko Bin Laden-loving communist!

  5. Sounds like we’re edging toward a police state. This government already wants to give police unfettered privileges to eavesdrop on citizens without a warrant. Why not just come out and say that they want to install checkpoints where police can search people for contraband.

  6. I thought we had a Charter right against unreasonable search and seizure? And of innocence until proven guilty? IMO, Such a law should never see the light of day in this context…

    • Ah, but you're assuming that our Dear Leaders give a rat's ass about such things.

      The point is that it would play well to the base. Screw the constitution – in the words of George W. Bush, "It's just a goddamn piece of paper!"

  7. This seems unnecessary. If a cop doesn't have a basis for thinking someone's been drinking, why test them? Given that cops sometimes pull people over for no real reason and then try to find a justification, this would just be another thing for them to harass people with.

  8. MADD is the same group that supported the previous batch of inane proposed changes for new Ontario drivers. With the current drinking/driving laws that are around now, what is MADD's function? Reduce the legal limit even more? Zero tolerance for having one beer while watching a hockey game at a pub? Prohibition?

  9. Hmm I'm skeptical about this idea. I'd like to see the details as to what sort of powers this would give police. It seems to step on a great many of our civil liberties.

    I understand why MADD trys to push reform like this. But even good intentions can go awry.

  10. Don't blame conservatives for this one – if it were up to us they would be called Mothers For Staying The Hell In The Kitchen and they'd stick to their knitting.

  11. Whats with the trolls and their anti-women crap today??

    • It's just one guy – that familiar troll we all know and despise. He posted as "Lib Fail" a few months ago.

      Don't worry, he doesn't actually believe a word of what he says. He's one of those "performance artist" commenters… in this case, a left-leaning individual who gets his jollies by identifying himself as a Conservative and then writing bigoted and intentionally ridiculous rants.

      He probably thinks it's satire or caricature, but he's really just a sad, boring troll.

    • It's just one guy – that familiar troll we all know and despise. He posted as "Lib Fail" a few months ago.

      Don't worry, he doesn't actually believe a word of what he says. He's one of those "performance artist" commenters… in this case, a left-leaning individual who gets his jollies by identifying himself as a Conservative and then writing bigoted, intentionally ridiculous rants.

      He probably thinks it's satire or caricature, but he's really just a sad, boring troll.

  12. People are alarmed about the civil liberties aspects to this, but how (in principle) is it any different from the RIDE program?

    …which is why I'm opposed to the RIDE program. If there's no particular reason to stop a motorist, the police should not have the right to do it.

  13. People are alarmed about the civil liberties aspects to this, but how (in principle) is it any different from the RIDE program?

    …which is also why I'm opposed to the RIDE program. If there's no particular reason to stop a motorist, the police should not have the right to do it.

  14. People are alarmed about the civil liberties aspects to this, but how (in principle) is it any different from the RIDE program?

    …which is also why I'm opposed to the RIDE program. If there's no particular reason to stop a motorist, the police should not have the right to do it.

    EDIT: and now that I'm reading the comments I see that Jolyon has already made the same point.

  15. People are alarmed about the civil liberties aspects to this, but how (in principle) is it any different from the RIDE program?

    …which is also why I'm opposed to the RIDE program. If there's no particular reason to stop a motorist, the police should not have the right to do it.

    EDIT: and now that I'm reading the comments I see that Jolyon has already made the same point, only more succinctly.

  16. I don't actually like MADD as an organization, and I'm intrigued that they have a man as their CEO. Hmmm…

    anyhoo, yeah, don't need more legislation on this. What does Helene Guergis have to say about it?

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