It’s been almost five years since Sheri Arsenault lost her son, along with two other boys in an impaired driving collision.
She’s been trying for four years to get the government to legalize a bill requiring five-year minimum sentences for all impaired driving causing death charges.
Arsenault is the Alberta director of Families for Justice, and she said that she’s seen some slow progress.
“In June of 2015 the former Justice Minister Peter McKay had introduced a bill asking for mandatory minimums,” Arsenault explained. “That bill died on the table, and the new government was elected that fall. Since then a private members bill, that is a mirror image of the former bill has been introduced into the government.”
Arsenault says that bill is now through its second reading, and is now before a standing committee.
She said that she’s still looking for a minimum five year sentence.
“The inconsistency that we see in sentencing and in plead deals shows that a different sentencing model is needed,” Arsenault said. “We need a proposed mandatory minimum sentence to keep the sentencing uniform. Some people can commit this very same crime and get a six month sentence, while another might get a three year sentence.”
Arsenault added that it hasn’t been that much better under the new federal government.
“With politics in general the wheels move very slowly,” Arsenault said. “I do think something is going to happen. I am communicating with the Justice Minister’s office. I believe the Liberal government is reviewing all mandatory minimum sentences. I don’t believe they are opposed to mandatory minimums for serious crimes.”
Back in 2011 her son Bradley was killed by a drunk driver, along with his two friends Kole Novak and Thaddeus Lake.
Jonathan Pratt received a 10 year sentence and a lifetime ban from driving as a result. (km)