Transport ministers from across Canada seemed to have mixed feelings about the criminalization of distracted driving on Wednesday as they met in Toronto.
Quebec’s transport minister, Laurent Lessard, asked Ottawa to consider criminalizing distracted driving last month. Global News used this week’s meeting to ask all Lessard’s provincial counterparts if they would be on board with that. Some were, but others weren’t so sure — or avoided answering the question entirely.
“I think we do need to do more,” said Ontario’s transport minister, Steven Del Duca.
“I think it will take a concerted effort from all levels of government.”
The minister from the Northwest Territories, Wally Schumann, said he’d “be open to it because it’s something that can disrupt someone and someone’s family’s life immensely, it needs to be looked at seriously.”
WATCH: A B.C. woman has to live with the heartbreaking consequences of distracted driving every day. As Mike Drolet reports, she hopes her story will push politicians to toughen up the laws.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Al Hawkins said the issue is “a concern” but wouldn’t go any further, and Manitoba’s Blaine Pedersen said his province hasn’t come to any decision about criminalizing distracted driving.
Pedersen added that distraction behind the wheel and impairment due to alcohol or drugs are “different,” although they are related.
“We just haven’t taken any position on this,” he said.
Saskachewan’s David Marit was unwilling to offer any comment at all.
“I’m not going to do any interviews,” he said before walking away.
WATCH: Should distracted driving be a criminal offence?
The meeting in Toronto this week is the second gathering to include federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau and his provincial counterparts since the government was elected last fall.
Garneau said earlier this month that distracted driving is a “big problem” and promised to raise the issue with the provincial ministers, including the question of whether to criminalize texting and driving.
WATCH: Testing out the distracted driving course
Watch below: Distracted driving is dangerous but should it be criminalized? In some provinces, it kills more people than impaired driving. Yet the penalties for the latter are much harsher. Transport ministers from from across Canada met in Toronto Wednesday to look at what can be done. Emily Mertz has more.