|Peter Goldring (right) meeting with the |
Prime Minister, prior to his troubles.
Based on what Edmonton police spokesman Chad Orydzuk told the Edmonton Journal Mr.Goldring was charged with refusing to provide a breath sample using the roadside screening test.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is an offense to Refuse to Comply with a Valid Screening Device or Breath Test Demand (often referred to as "refusing to blow"). In plain English this means that if a police officer makes a demand for you to provide a breath sample, or blow into a screening device, and you do not comply, you may be charged criminally under cc. 254(5).
Now this is where it gets interesting, although Mr Goldring refused to blow he has publicly stated he is pleading "not guilty to the charge", although he has not said why he refused to blow. Now, I know that at times the law can seem complicated, particularly to those of us who are not MP's or do not have the benefit of years of legal education. But please, there are only two options here, you blow, or you don't.
Now while Mr Goldring refuses to say why he would not blow, he has no problem stating loud and clear that he was not impaired or under the influence, that he had "only one beer". In his own defense Peter has stated that the fact he was not charged with impaired driving speaks to his innocence. Peter, Peter, Peter, there is a flaw in that logic, you were charged because you refused the test, not because you were impaired. No test, no evidence of impairment to lay charges of driving under the influence.
Unfortunately, Peter seems to have missed the point, he is not charged with being impaired, in fact what he did or did not drink has no relevance on his charges. He is charged with "refusing to blow", so Peter either you did or you didn't. The reason the "refusing to blow" law exists is so that the impaired can not dodge charges by simply not taking the test.
Now maybe Peter has an agenda we have yet to see, this is the same man that in 2009 posted on his website a letter he wrote opposing a proposal supported by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers that would allow police officers to use breathalyzer tests even if they didn’t suspect drunk driving. In his letter he stated civil liberties and the right to not self-incriminate had to be protected (on the surface, generally a concept I agree with). As well, just hours before Goldring was charged, he had been publicly debating Edmonton-Castle Downs PC MLA Thomas Lukaszuk on the merits of proposed Alberta legislation that would create harsher punishments for people suspected of impaired driving.
So, is Peter trying to prove a point about the merits and legalities of roadside checks and harsher penalties? Only time will tell, however if he is it is a risky road to travel. If he admits that this is a stunt to question the legality of the approach the government has taken to deal with drunk driving, then he risks a serious backlash from the Tory party, As well, considering his position as an MP he should know better than anyone that you don't break the law to change it, you work within the guidelines of the system. On top of that is the damage the incident and his virtual disappearance since the information went public in December have done to his political career and family. In a recent interview , while holding back tears Peter stated “It’s been terrible,” Last but not least, if this is a stunt, it is an ill conceived one that will cost the court system (taxpayer) time and money and something that any responsible individual would have enough common sense not to undertake.
Peter currently sits as an independent member of the House of Commons. His parliamentary webpage lists his affiliation as Independent Conservative, but he has asked to be recognized as a "Civil Libertarian"
My money on this one is that Peter is scrambling to cover his own ass after bending his elbow a few too many times on the evening in question, but time will tell as his court appearance is scheduled for February 15.