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N.S. woman plans constitutional challenge of roadside cannabis test

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HALIFAX — A lawyer for a Nova Scotia motorist whose licence was suspended after her saliva tested positive for cannabis says his firm will use the case to launch a constitutional challenge of Canada’s revamped impaired driving laws.

Jack Lloyd says Michelle Gray’s case shows the law is too broad and too vague, mainly because she was penalized even though police testing later determined she was not impaired.

“The argument is that you’re going to be having people lose their liberty — Michelle was arrested and her personal liberty was taken away from her — and it turned out that she was not guilty of anything,” Lloyd said in an interview Thursday.

“The government’s concern (about cannabis) is overzealous and that’s resulting in harms and loss of liberty for people like Michelle, who are law-abiding and would never dream of driving while impaired.”

Gray uses medically approved cannabis to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

“It’s alarming that these people have so much power, so much leeway to use it at their own discretion,” she said, referring to the RCMP.

Gray said she told police conducting a roadside check in January she had one alcoholic drink over a two-hour period before she got in her car to drive from downtown Halifax to her home in suburban Middle Sackville.

The officer then said he could detect the smell of cannabis coming from her car. That’s when Gray told him she used medical cannabis to treat her MS.

Though Gray passed a roadside alcohol test, a subsequent saliva test showed trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

She was arrested and taken to police headquarters, where she was subjected to a 12-step Drug Recognition Expert Evaluation, which includes balance and memory tests.

“Balance is an issue with my MS … (and) I do have a lot of cognitive issues with short-term memory,” said Gray, adding that she repeatedly reminded the officers about her medical condition.

“During this whole time, my life is flashing before my eyes. I was worried about getting charged and fined.”

But that didn’t happen.

Police told her she had passed the tests, which proved she was not impaired.

However, the results from the initial saliva test prompted police to suspend her licence for a week and impound her car — leaving her with a $400 bill. She also missed four days of work.

On Thursday, the RCMP admitted to making a error, confirming that Gray’s licence should have been suspended for only 24 hours instead of a week.

Gray said the Mounties told her all RCMP officers in the province would now be warned against making similar errors. She said she appreciated the Mounties’ review of her case, but it’s not the police she’s challenging.

“I’m upset with our government for putting me in this position … The police don’t write bills and pass them. The government does,” she said.

Tom Singleton, who has practised criminal law for 25 years in Halifax, said the problem is that the tests police use are too subjective. As well, traces of THC can remain in the body for up to a week after someone uses it.

“Cannabis is legal in Canada, and a lot of people take cannabis … for medical and other health reasons,” he said in an interview.

“Yet, the mere presence of cannabis in your body would allow the police to suspend your licence … There’s way too much authority given to police officers … People don’t realize how draconian some of this stuff is.”

The roadside saliva tests, which require a machine called the Drager DrugTest 5000, were introduced by the federal government in August.

Guidelines on low-risk cannabis use endorsed by the Canadian Medical Association and other health organizations say people should not drive for at least six hours after using cannabis. But the wait time can be longer, depending on the user and the way the THC is consumed.

As well, those who use cannabis regularly are known to develop a tolerance to the drug, which means their impairment would be difficult to gauge through drug testing.

Lloyd, a Toronto-based lawyer with an expertise in cannabis, said his firm plans to file a legal challenge under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which deals with life, liberty and the security of the person.

He said lawyers across the country are contemplating similar cases.

“The situation Michelle was in may happen more frequently in some provinces, but it’s possible everywhere,” he said.

Under the new law, a driver’s licence can be suspended and their car impounded in some provinces if tests show at least 0.2 nanograms of THC in a saliva sample.

“That limit has no rational connection to actual impairment,” Lloyd said.

“Nevertheless, people are being accused of this and their vehicles are being taken away … And in the end, they’ll have a police officer tell them they’re not guilty rather than a court of law.”

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Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press


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Economy

In a “Staggering Precedent” Trudeau government dodging parliament with massive “inflation tax” on Canadians

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Federal Conservative Pierre Poilievre has released video from a recent Question of Privilege in the House of Commons where he explains how the Federal Liberal government has been dodging parliament to significantly raise taxes.

Instead of going further into debt or raising taxes to pay for a massive increase in government spending, the Trudeau government worked out a deal with the Central Bank.  Every week the Central Bank prints billions of dollars that go directly to government coffers.  Without a single vote and without consulting Parliament, the federal government is effectively raking in the largest tax increase in Canadian history.

By printing money at this unprecedented rate, the federal government is responsible for driving up Canada’s inflation rate resulting in price hikes for virtually all goods and services.  Poilievre calls it an “inflation tax”.

In this short video, Poilievre describes how the inflation tax hurts low and middle income Canadians, while increasing the value of assets owned by the richest Canadians.

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Alberta

New opinion surveys reveal overwhelming majority of Canadians support our Oil and Gas industry

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News Release from Canada Action

We are very excited to share some recent and encouraging polling results today. According to a July 2021 public opinion survey conducted by Research Co, new data shows that Canada’s public perception of our responsible energy industry is very positive.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Almost three in four (73 percent) Canadians polled agree Canada should be a preferred global supplier of energy because of its climate and environmental record.
  • Nearly seven in ten (69 percent) say they have personally benefited from the oil and gas sector.
  • 70 percent agree that resource development could help alleviate systemic poverty within Indigenous communities.
  • Two thirds of Canadians (66 percent) support Canada’s role as a global oil and gas supplier.
  • Almost three in four Canadians (73 percent) acknowledge Canada’s prosperity is supported by the oil and gas sector and that Canadian oil and gas production helps fund important social programs like health care and education.

Referring to the fact 73 percent of Canadians polled also agreed it’s essential First Nations be included in project development to establish long-term revenue sources for their communities, JP Gladu, acting Executive Director of Indigenous Resource Network, noted the following:

Taken collectively, this is all exceptional news for all of Canada’s natural resource industries. Your support for our positive, fact based message about why the world needs more Canadian energy and resources is helping make a difference.

A Majority of Canadians ‘Agree’ that Canada Should be a Preferred Global Supplier of Energy: POLL

two thirds of canadians support canada's role as a global oil and gas supplier

A new public opinion survey conducted by Research Co. on behalf of Canada Action has found that a majority of Canadians across the country support the vital oil and gas sector! The poll, released on July 14th, showed that 68% of participants ‘agree’ that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand, while two-thirds (66%) support Canada’s role as a global oil and gas supplier versus just 19% who were opposed.

Additionally, almost three in four Canadians (73%) acknowledged Canada’s prosperity is supported by the oil and gas sector and that the industry helps fund important social programs such as healthcare and education.

“It’s a strong and very welcome result, and one that shows most Canadians feel proud of the work their energy sector is doing to enhance its record on ESG criteria. The results also show most Canadians believe the world needs more Canadian energy and are aware of the importance of the sector to the prosperity of families and communities right across the country,” said Cody Battershill, Canada Action founder.

Canada Oil and Gas Sector Generated 493 Billion Government Revenues 2000-2018-02

Between 2000 and 2018, approximately $493 billion in government revenues were generated by Canada’s oil and gas industry, capital which has been used pay for schools, hospitals, roads and the workers that make these projects possible/operational. Every Canadian has benefitted from oil and gas in some way, shape, or form; nearly seven-in-ten Canadians (69%) of participants also acknowledged that Canada’s oil and gas sector has benefitted them personally.

Nearly three-in-four Canadians (73%) also agreed that global markets should prioritize jurisdictions like Canada that are leaders in climate action and environmental protection. This is a logical choice as Canada’s oil and gas industry ranks number one for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices among nations with the largest oil reserves, and of the world’s top 20 producers, 2nd for governance and social progress and 4th on the environment.

“Given the world requires $525 billion of new oil and gas investment per year just to meet current demand, we think we ought to push for Canada to receive a sizeable share of this investment,” Battershill added.

68% of canadians agree that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand

Canada’s world-class ESG performance shows that our nation is home to one of the most environmentally conscious and sustainable oil and gas industries in the world. With future supply gaps on the horizon, it only makes sense that ESG-focussed investors look to Canada as a choice supplier for as long as the world needs oil – and it will for many decades to come.

73% of participants also agreed that it’s essential First Nations be included in project development to establish long-term revenue sources for their communities.

“These are heartening results. Indigenous nations and businesses want to be partners in resource development. This poll shows there’s widespread support to work together for the benefit of all,” said JP Gladu, acting Executive Director of the Indigenous Resource Network.

Below is a summary of all poll results collected by Research Co.

Poll Results:

73% of canadians agree that Canada's oil and gas sector helps fund social programs like healthcare and education

Two-thirds of Canadians (66%) support Canada’s role as a global oil and gas supplier, while one-in-five (19%) are opposed

– Almost seven-in-ten Canadians (69%) say the oil and gas industry has benefitted them personally

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that global markets should prioritize jurisdictions like Canada that are leaders in climate action and environmental protection

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that Canadian oil and gas products help fund important social programs like healthcare and education for Canadians

– More than seven-in-ten Canadians (72%) agree that sustainability measures are better served when energy is sourced from Canada compared to less environmentally friendly jurisdictions

three quarters of Canada believe that global markets should favour sustainable oil producers in Canada

Seven-in-ten Canadians (70%) agree that Canada should be the choice recipient of investments due to its climate leadership and environmental policies

– More than two-thirds of Canadians (68%) agree that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand

– Over three-in-five Canadians (64%) agree that investing in Canada’s oil and gas sector makes sense if you value climate leadership, social progress and transparency

Fewer than half of Canadians (45%) were aware that Canada is a leader for environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices among countries with the largest oil and gas reserves

– More than two-in-five Canadians (43%) were aware that Canadian energy companies are global leaders in carbon capture, utilization and storage

70% of Canadians believe Canada should be a choice recipient for investments due to ESG leadership

– Just over two-in-five Canadians (41%) were aware that Canadian natural gas exported to Asia can reduce global emissions by displacing coal power usage

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that global markets should prioritize jurisdictions like Canada that are leaders in climate leadership and environmental protection

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that Canada should be a destination of choice for energy investment due to its climate leadership, worker safety and environmental policies

– More than two-thirds of Canadians (68%) agree that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (74%) think Canada should act in a similar fashion to Norway when it comes to energy practices, as the nation has said they will continue to maximize the value created from their oil and gas reserves

Canada ESG Record vs. Top Global Oil Exporters

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that Canada’s prosperity is supported by the oil and gas sector practices

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that it is essential that First Nations be included in project development to establish long-term revenue sources for their communities

Seven-in-ten Canadians (70%) agree that Systemic poverty within Indigenous communities could be alleviated with resource development

– Almost seven-in-ten Canadians (69%) agree that Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada should play a role in supplying our energy to meet domestic and global demands

More than half of Canadians (56%) agree with the decision related to the TMX expansion, while one-in-five (21%) disagree, and a similar proportion (22%) are undecided. Support for the decision is highest in Alberta and Atlantic Canada (each at 63%), followed by Ontario (57%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (56%), British Columbia (55%) and Quebec (52%)

– Over three-in-five Canadians (62%) think the Indigenous communities support the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) project

– More than three-in-ten Canadians (31%) are more likely to support the Trans Mountain expansion upon learning of the views of Indigenous communities, while 7% are less likely to support. More than two-in-five (47%) say their position has not changed as a result of this fact

Results were based on an online study among 1,000 adults in Canada, conducted July 7 to 9, 2021 and weighted for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

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