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Canada Is Loosening Its Laws On Drunk Canoeing

Drunk hovercrafting will still be illegal.

Manisha Krishnan

Manisha Krishnan

If you want to be a true Canadian cliche, good news: you'll soon be able to crack open a cold one with the girls—in a canoe—and not get charged with drunk driving.

As first reported by the National Post, Canada has tabled legislation that will change the definition of "vessel" in the Criminal Code to exclude anything "propelled exclusively by means of muscular power." For the record, drunk hovercrafting will still be illegal.

Bill C-46, which primarily addresses driving drunk and high, has passed second reading.

As it currently stands, canoes count as vessels, so if a cop busts you paddling drunk, you can be charged with impaired driving and face some pretty serious consequences including fines, driving prohibitions, losing your driver's licence, or having your car impounded. (Some of these punishments seem a bit odd, considering you're committing the offence in a canoe.)

I don't really get the appeal of canoeing because I'm a bad Canadian, but I assume it's more fun when you've got a buzz going. However, it can also be dangerous. According to the Canadian Safe Boating Council, alcohol is suspected in almost 40 percent of boating deaths.

In April, an Etobicoke man was charged with impaired operation of a vehicle causing death after his canoe overturned and an eight-year-old boy drowned.

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