View topic - Canadian Judge to rule whether or not a canoe is a vessel

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PostPosted: November 15th, 2018, 1:22 pm 
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Apparently it's the first time the question has been put before a judge in Canada

https://www.muskokaregion.com/news-story/9029333-judge-to-rule-on-whether-a-canoe-is-a-vessel-in-muskoka-impaired-canoeing-case/


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PostPosted: November 15th, 2018, 1:35 pm 
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Verdict is in!

https://www.muskokaregion.com/news-story/9034755-breaking-judge-gives-verdict-on-whether-a-canoe-is-a-vessel-in-muskoka-case/


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PostPosted: November 15th, 2018, 3:12 pm 
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:thumbup:
Good to see. especially since the changes to the NWPA to NPA there was no definition.
There were very few definitions on just about everything.
We have been very lucky that there has been very little legal wise with that act and precedents like these are very important.
That will change with Bill C-69 that is in 2nd reading in the Senate righ now, as the definitions are pretty clear.
Which is good for all paddle craft and small boats.
Jeff

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PostPosted: November 16th, 2018, 7:48 pm 
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What if any impact will this have on my right to consume cannabis while in my canoe?

What if any impact will this have on my right to paddle my canoe while under the influence* of (previously consumed) cannabis?

What would constitute probable cause giving authorities the right to demand a riverside sobriety test and saliva sample?

Will I be safe if I only paddle my canoe under the influence cannabis in locations more than 2 hours from the required facility that can obtain a blood sample for final determination?

* 2 nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood

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PostPosted: November 17th, 2018, 9:26 am 
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I've been stopped by OPP twice in the past while canoeing... once at Ontario Place in Toronto after staff complained that we were mooring on their property (we weren't), and the OPP boat took ID and a warning, no ticket. Probably had a look at the empty canoe and saw no booze. Maybe lucky that it was an older guy and not someone younger, I've heard stories that the inexperienced new OPP staff are much more likely to ticket and provide breathalyzer tests, maybe so they can become familiar with the system and then say they've got experience.

And a younger OPP guy on a large lake near Bancroft who was looking for someone drinking, looked through the stuff and found nothing. Really pissed off for some reason, maybe had to drive in and launch the boat after a cottager's complaint. Definitely sending out go ahead punk, make my day vibes.

My sense is to stay off the motorboat lakes, and popular, easy-access lakes when there's lots of drinking going on... IIRC there are some real problems with detecting THC and proving impairment since it can stay in the system for up to thirty days..

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PostPosted: November 17th, 2018, 9:54 am 
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This is a concerning ruling, aforementioned case aside. Does this now mean Canada could enforce vessel registration and operator licensing on canoes and canoeists? A presumption I won't mind being wrong about.

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PostPosted: November 17th, 2018, 11:07 am 
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recped wrote:
What if any impact will this have on my right to consume cannabis while in my canoe?

What if any impact will this have on my right to paddle my canoe while under the influence* of (previously consumed) cannabis?

What would constitute probable cause giving authorities the right to demand a riverside sobriety test and saliva sample?

Will I be safe if I only paddle my canoe under the influence cannabis in locations more than 2 hours from the required facility that can obtain a blood sample for final determination?

* 2 nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood


It's now a criminal act, we have no right to consume alcohol or cannabis in canoes.
It's also absurdidly criminal for a solo paddler to tow another boat with occupants.
Can a solo paddler tow their kid around on a flutter board? No, that's a criminal act too!


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PostPosted: November 17th, 2018, 6:25 pm 
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Airbag said :
Quote:
It's also absurdidly criminal for a solo paddler to tow another boat with occupants.
Can a solo paddler tow their kid around on a flutter board? No, that's a criminal act too!


This was the interpatation of the defence team if a canoe was decleared a vessel.
Not the Judges.
If someone that was not under the influence was towing a "flutter" board in a recreational and safe manner I can not see there being an issue, and even then it would be up to interpretation.

What got this to trial in the first place was a death.
Something totally avoidable and really uneccessary.

The fact a canoe, a personal watercraft was declared a vessel in a criminal trial is very important to our access to our watershed.
The circumstances that this came to the courts is appaling!
There has been some issuses in some of the bigger and easier access Parks/areas with substance abuse.
Maybe this will help.
Jeff

Edit just a further add on on how far the defense reached in this statement above.
It is a widely used saftey practice to tow people and boats.
It is a practice that is used even when teaching swift water rescues and a skill any paddler should know how to perform.
It is even something I did with my kids to prepare them for trips so they would know what to expect.
The defense seemed to put a lot of hope in their argument and to use their interpretation as a fear tactic to get the general public on their side.

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PostPosted: November 19th, 2018, 9:33 am 
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The ruling that a canoe is a vessel is probably a good one for recreational canoeing. A ruling the other way might raise issues with regards whether or not waterways that were only accessible by canoe qualified as "navigable".

The next question is whether or not impaired operation laws as currently written apply to canoes. Those laws, at least in Ontario, currently explicitly exclude other human powered transportation but don't explicitly exclude human powered watercraft. My expectation is that the ruling on that question will be that under current law, the impaired operating laws will apply in this particular case.

That follow on question is whether the current impaired laws should and/or will be updated to exclude human powered watercraft. Personally I think they should be changed.

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PostPosted: November 19th, 2018, 10:32 am 
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...issues with regards whether or not waterways that were only accessible by canoe qualified as "navigable".


The last time I read through the NPA at e-laws online, there were only a limited number of navigable waterways being protected, maybe 200 or so, and that protection wouldn't include most canoe routes (being minor waterways?). The new version whenever that appears should include them IIRC what was in the press releases (which was some time ago).

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PostPosted: November 19th, 2018, 11:55 am 
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I must be reading the OP wrong. Sounds like the defendant was doing over 80 in a canoe. If that's right I'd like to know how it's done!! :D

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PostPosted: November 19th, 2018, 2:09 pm 
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It looks like that is a short form of referring to operating "..a vessel..." with a blood alcohol level over "..eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood."

https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/act ... ml#docCont

_____________________________________________
Operation while impaired

253 (1) Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or

(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.
___________________________________

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PostPosted: November 19th, 2018, 5:52 pm 
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Splake wrote:
The next question is whether or not impaired operation laws as currently written apply to canoes?


Yeah, this decision allows the criminal code to adopt the shipping act's definition of a vessel. Similar to impaired driving. Doubt we'll ever see this reversed,,


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PostPosted: November 20th, 2018, 8:51 am 
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Airbag wrote:

Yeah, this decision allows the criminal code to adopt the shipping act's definition of a vessel. Similar to impaired driving. Doubt we'll ever see this reversed,,


Actually it's the other way around. The criminal code already used the term "vessel" which only appears to be defined in the shipping act. The criminal code also explicitly excludes human power vehicles on land so there is very strong justification to update the wording of the impaired driving laws to recognize that the same exclusion should apply to all human powered vehicles whether on land or on water.

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PostPosted: November 20th, 2018, 9:36 am 
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This is a concerning ruling, aforementioned case aside. Does this now mean Canada could enforce vessel registration and operator licensing on canoes and canoeists? A presumption I won't mind being wrong about.


The various governments have always had the rights to do this.
It already exists in power boating with the "Pleasure Craft" operating card.
It is not much of a step to add paddle "craft" into that mix.
We have fought this and won before but every paddler needs to be vigilant on legislation floating around.
It almost happened under the Harper Government, not the individuals at the time but those with what they called "fleets" meaning outfitters, camps, hunting camps, clubs. they also incuded a lic fee on insturctors/coaches.
It was withdrawn early in thr process because of the large % of his base opposed it, and it was quickly acted upon by many members of the outdoor community, some of which are on this forum.
That is why all paddlers need to be vigilant in watching what is going on in all levels of Government.
(Hint Watch Ford and parks and Crown lands)
This was strictly a ruling that means the Crown can enforce the general operating a canoe while under the influence.
Had the defense won their point you could bet there would have been legislation addressing this and you could bet that there would be licensing in various forms.

This was all about someone allegedly under the influence and causeing the death of a child.
:(
Any times these incidents occur it has repercussions across the board that effect out paddle world and in instanes like this, it might get a few people thinking a little more.
Jeff

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