This is the final week the House of Commons will sit for 2018 before resuming in late January of 2019.
This week will also be the last time the current 42nd Parliament will sit in original House of Commons for at least 10 years.
How will this impact our Canadian Parliament?
First, a little background.
Although the House of Commons and the Peace Tower have become an internationally recognized landmark, there are actually three buildings on Parliament Hill.
What many Canadians refer to as the “House of Commons” is known as Centre Block.
It is called Centre Block because it is the centre building of the three large Victorian high gothic style buildings that form the core of the legislative precinct.
The East Block building is located to the immediate east of Centre Block and connected by underground tunnel was built in 1866 and contained the original office of Sir John A. Macdonald.
The West Block building, you guessed it, is located to the west of Centre Block. It was closed in 2011 to undergo a large scale refit and renovation.
Part of that renovation project included substantial modifications so that the House of Commons chamber could be relocated into West Block while the Centre Block building is renovated.
So when we return to Ottawa in January, we will call West Block home.
On a different subject, on December 18th, Canada’s new impaired driving laws will come into effect, creating significant changes from current regulations.
For example, police will be able to compel a driver provide an oral fluid sample on demand.
This test can be used to determine THC level per millilitre (ml) of blood, not unlike current assessment related to blood alcohol content.
There is also a new provision that will allow for mandatory roadside screening, even if an officer does not have a reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol use.
Fines are also being increased to a $1000 minimum up to $2000 for first time offenders.
Repeat offenders can face jail time and possible prohibitions from driving. There are also legislative changes that can restrict some types of legal defence arguments for those facing impaired driver charges.
For the most part I have heard strong support for these changes.
However, some have stated opposition to mandatory roadside screening.
Our current laws indicate that an officer must first have reasonable suspicion before requesting any roadside screening.
That will be my question for this week.
Do you support the requirement of “reasonable suspicion” being removed, as roadside screening will now become a mandatory requirement?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.