Looking Tough on Crime


Photo: Jeffery Simpson

Prime Minister Harper was in town today to announce that Canada was about to become an even less pleasant place to be a street racer. And hey, that’s a pretty hard thing to be against, eh? And yet, I am.

Now let me be clear: I’m a big old right wing kook, and I like the idea of punishing aggressively rehabilitating criminals. I am also very much against street racing: cars are big and heavy, and have tremendous potential for mayhem in the wrong hands.

But I’m pretty sure it’s already very very illegal to street race. As the CBC article linked above points out, there are now four Criminal Code offences that apply to injuring or killing someone with your car, and there are many more places in the provincial motor vehicle acts that prohibit all the other bad behaviours that make up street racing.

Go ahead, read the BC MVA, I’ll wait. Regard Section 93, which gives the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles broad powers to suspend drivers licenses, without obvious limitations on the time or with any onerous evidentiary requirements. Contemplate Excessive Speeding, and the fact that fine amounts can be changed without legislative changes to the MVA. What extra punishments are we missing?

You know, “Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death” is pretty specific to the crime of driving recklessly and killing someone. I’m not sure the crime becomes worse because there was more than one car driving too fast at the time. I am perfectly open to the case for stiffer jail terms, and as we can see above, I’m pretty sure the provincial government can already drop a permanent driving ban on anyone it deems unfit. I say use those powers! Let’s make street racers eligible for a lifetime of public transit usage on top of their jail time!

But I have a philosophical objection to expanding the number of laws on the books, especially when it is done in this redundant fashion. Invoke the name of the late Chuck Cadman, use the bully pulpit to call attention to the issue, but when I see a pledge to make up more laws for this already criminal act, I call grandstanding.

1 Comment so far

  1. Jonathon Narvey (unregistered) on May 25th, 2006 @ 10:55 pm

    On reading the first paragraph of your post, I was all set to disagree with you – but you’ve laid out a pretty convincing argument. I agree that current laws need to be enforced more rigorously. Hopefully, that’s the other side of Harper’s promise.



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