Canoeing under the influence may soon be legal…in Canada.
Canada, who has some very strict DUI laws, currently makes it illegal to canoe while under the influence of alcohol. The outdoorsy county may soon change that however.
Canadian Parliament is considering legislation which would change the definition of a vessel so that it “does not include a vessel that is propelled exclusively by means of muscular power,” according to the National Post.
In Canada, it is not illegal to operate a non-motorized vehicle, such as a bicycle, while under the influence of alcohol. The issue that the Canadian Parliament is grappling with is whether a person should be prosecuted for a crime that, had it taken place on land, would not be a crime because the vessel is not motorized.
John Gullick, chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC), doesn’t think the comparison between canoes and bikes are the same.
“The only person who gets hurt is the person riding the bicycle. Well, in the case of muscular or human-powered vessels, there can be far many more numbers of people in the vessel, and it also affects people around the vessel. First responders, people who are searching for people who get lost or get in trouble,” Gullick told the National Post.
The legislation was prompted by a number of arrests for canoeing under the influence which led to the suspension of the canoers’ drivers licenses.
Should the Canadian Parliament agree with the new legislation, doesn’t mean that a person can be prosecuted under a different criminal statute according to Greg Yost, a justice department counsel for criminal law matters.
Although I agree with the pending legislation, it doesn’t mean that a person should hit the lakes after having to many Molson Ices, eh.