Moose Country Minute – October 14 2017

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For awhile there, it looked as if you could pissed as a newt while paddling your canoe and not be charged with impaired driving.

But a recent amendment to Bill C-46 in Ottawa that would have excluded drinking and paddling from impaired driving laws, and therefore the possibility of a criminal record, has now seen that exclusion removed.

So, it’s back to square one, where the coppers at the scene will make the decision on whether to charge a canoeist or kayaker or a rowboat aficionada with simply being drunk in a public place, or going full-bore with criminal charges.

You may remember earlier this year when the OPP laid impaired driving causing death charges against 37-year-old David Sillars who flipped his canoe on the Muskoka River, and where his eight-year-old passenger was swept over a waterfall and subsequently died.

It was a horrendous result.

It was this case, apparently, that caused the amendment to be passed, and which will lead to canoe drunkenness finally being tested in a court of law.

Is the nanny state going too far, here?

If I am alone in my canoe, three sheets to the wind, it should be my decision, and not one that should be penalized with a heavy-duty criminal charge.

Throw a motor on that canoe, or put a passenger in it, and it’s a different story.

If the cops want to go after pissed people without motors, have them go after bicyclists who leave their local pubs with a 12-pack inside them, and then hit the road.

But they don’t.

Public intoxication is the most they will get — if that.