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Why impaired boating includes basically everything now

Silhouette of a young man paddling out to sea in a kayak

In today’s Big Story podcast, ever enjoyed a beer while lounging on a inflatable mattress in a lake? What about while fishing in a rowboat? Lounging on a paddle board? Count yourself lucky you didn’t run across a police officer in a bad mood. You could have lost your driver’s licence, or worse.

A conviction in late June that stemmed from the tragic death of a child laid bare the problem with Canada’s current approach to impaired boating. With no clear definition of a “vessel” anything used to float in a waterway could potentially qualify, and lead to serious charges under laws that are meant to punish drunk drivers.

How did we end up in this situation? Just how far could police go if they really want to punish someone caught with a beer in a kayak? What do we do about well-meaning rulings that set bad precedent?

GUEST: Brian Platt, reporter, National Post

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