Scott Thompson: Driving or returning empties, you still have civil rights

Click to play video: 'New impaired driving rules give police sweeping powers' New impaired driving rules give police sweeping powers
New federal rules in force since Jan. 1 could see police coming to your home or your drinking establishment and insisting you provide a breath sample. As Seán O'Shea reports, it has some lawyers worried – Jan 8, 2019

I interviewed a man on Wednesday who was stopped by police and asked to take a breathalyzer test after returning his empties to a Beer Store.

The 70-year-old was shaken by the encounter, not knowing why the officer stopped him.

READ MORE: Police in Canada can now demand breath samples in bars, at home

The officer told the man he was stopped because of the large number of cases he returned, despite the man saying he had accumulated them leading up to the holidays.The senior complied, was cleared and went on his way, trembling from the experience.
WATCH: Mandatory breathalyzer tests are now in effect in Canada
Click to play video: 'Mandatory breathalyzer tests are now in effect in Canada' Mandatory breathalyzer tests are now in effect in Canada
Mandatory breathalyzer tests are now in effect in Canada – Dec 18, 2018

As odd as this reason sounds, assuming only drunk drivers return large quantities of empties, the officer was completely within his right to do so, thanks to new laws which allow police to ask for a breathalyzer test whether they have reason to or not.

To me, this is similar to carding, where no reason is needed to ask someone to provide and record their personal identification.

I have been chastised for that comparison because driving is a privilege, while with carding, people are just minding their own business.

Yes, it’s a privilege — but you still have civil rights while driving.

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Oddly enough, it’s minorities who civil liberties experts argue will be targeted for no reason under this law.

To say there is no similarity between the two is just being politically correct. Both are a presumption of guilt without any just cause.

It’s the little things like this that separate us from communist countries like China.

Scott Thompson is the host of The Scott Thompson Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML​.

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