Letter from bar owner Jesse Kupina to Union Hall subscribers
Nov. 29, 2011
I, Jesse “James” Kupina, CEO of Union Hall Nightclub and The Ranch Roadhouse, am writing to express my concerns about Bill 26, the Alberta Traffic Safety Amendment Act 2011. I feel strongly that the proposed bill will have a negative impact on our province, unfairly penalize law-abiding Albertans and does not sufficiently target the real issue: high risk and repeat drinking and driving offenders.
As per the amendment, I do not support reducing the legal blood-alcohol concentration limit from .08 to .05. This change would unfairly impact most Albertans, who are law-abiding citizens.
The amendment will also create confusion about exactly how much alcohol a person can consume without breaking the law. Even without the amendment, Alberta’s current drinking and driving legislation has proven to be effective. There has, for example, been a steady decline in drinking and driving fatalities since 1995, according to Alberta Transportation.
I do support aspects of the proposed traffic safety amendment, however. This includes revisions to suspension and seizure regulations as well as the criminal charge revisions that target repeat offenders.
Bill 26 closely mirrors drinking and driving legislation that was recently passed in British Columbia. As was the case in B.C., our traffic safety amendment has been drafted by the provincial government in isolation without proper consultation with the people of Alberta. While the people of B.C. did not directly or initially oppose their bill, they are now dealing with its negative consequences.
WHAT OTHER IMPACT? COURT AND APPEALS?
One such impact has been to B.C.’s hospitality industry. Since being passed into law in 2010, B.C.’s new regulations have led to a significant drop in overall revenues in the hospitality sector. This reduced profitability has led to layoffs and, in some cases, the closure of many small B.C. businesses. In Alberta, the hospitality industry is our province’s fourth-largest employer. I am concerned that the passage of Bill 26 would have a similarly negative impact to Alberta restaurants, pubs and bars that was experienced in B.C. Alberta’s hospitality sector is still recovering from the recent economic downturn. The impact of this new law could prove disastrous for many people.
To date the Government of Alberta has not undertaken any public consultation on this matter so we would appreciate it if you would take three minutes and go to www.albertansagainstbill26.com and send an email asking the Government of Alberta to stop and have a discussion about Bill 26 with all Albertans!
Thank you for your time and your support in this urgent matter.
Jesse “James” Kupina
CEO Union Hall Nightclub and The Ranch Roadhouse