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EDITORIAL: Cheers & Jeers for March 1, 2021

123RF
Jeers to distracted driving. The RCMP issues 17 tickets for using a cellphone while driving last week on the roads between Corner Brook and Deer Lake. — 123RF

Cheers: to unusual complaints. The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal ruled on a case this week where 43-year-old Robert Reid had argued he couldn’t be convicted with failing to stop at the scene of an accident under Section 252 of Canada’s Criminal Code. It was just one of the charges Reid was facing, after deliberately running over an acquaintance following an argument. Reid’s reasoning? As the court wrote, “Mr. Reid admits that he was the driver, that his act of driving into Mr. Mulcahy was intentional, and that he did not stop at the scene. … Mr. Reid’s argument, in its simplest form, is that because his act was intentional, he is not a person involved in an accident’, and is therefore not a person included within this Section 252 offence.” The three judges ruled otherwise, saying that there are several precedents in Canadian law that an accident doesn’t have to be accidental to be an accident. Nice try, though.

Jeers: to vaccines, queues and money. The head of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board flew to the United Arab Emirates for “deeply personal” reasons, getting a COVID-19 vaccine shot in the process. That is all. (He has since resigned from his position.)

Jeers: “To what? Sorry, I was just looking at my phone …” There’s probably not a person left in St. John’s who hasn’t missed getting through a traffic light because the car in front of them, or a few cars in front of them, has stayed firmly and solidly stopped even though the traffic light has turned green. The cause? Just look for the “texty tilt,” the tell-tale posture of a driver concentrating on their cellphone. How big a problem is it? The RCMP did a traffic enforcement blitz between Corner Brook and Deer Lake last week — and, keep in mind, a lot of that is highway — and the No. 1 infraction they issued tickets for was for “using a hand-held communications device while driving.” There were 17 tickets in all.

Jeers: to new electoral hiccups. Radio-Canada’s Patrick Butler went looking to see if the current special ballot packages being sent out would include languages other than English. Butler tweeted out the response: “When the election moved to vote by mail only, the Chief Electoral Officer (Bruce Chaulk) sought translation assistance from our jurisdictional partners. Unfortunately, the timelines for such a translation process would not have met Elections Newfoundland and Labrador’s timelines for mailing out voting kits. Elections NL commits to seeking translation services to provide materials in Innu-aimon, Inuktitut, Mi’gmaq/Mi’kmaq and French immediately following this election, to ensure translation services are in place for all future electoral events. Bruce will not be available for an interview on this issue.” Future electoral events? Elections NL might want to be considering the possibility of future court events.


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