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Vous pourriez être arrêté pour alcool au volant même sans avoir conduit depuis deux heures

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Daniel Brown, un avocat qui pratique à Toronto, croit que la loi C-46 est problématique. « Je crois que tout le monde doit avoir un problème avec cette loi. Elle est anticonstitutionnelle », dit-il.

Les Canadiens pourraient faire face à des accusations criminelles même s’ils étaient totalement sobres lorsqu’ils étaient derrière le volant, selon Me Brown.

La police n’a plus besoin de motifs raisonnables de croire que vos facultés sont affaiblies avant de vous soumettre à un test de dépistage. Refuser de subir un alcootest peut entraîner une accusation criminelle.

Mais même boire dans les deux heures après avoir conduit peut signifier une accusation criminelle, explique Me Brown. Il n’est pas le seul : tous les avocats sondés par CBC News ont confirmé que la nouvelle loi confère ces pouvoirs aux policiers.

L’avocat explique que la nouvelle loi pourrait devenir très problématique. Selon lui, une personne qui gare sa voiture, puis commence à consommer de l’alcool, pourrait être arrêtée même si elle n’a pas l’intention de conduire prochainement.

« Vous pouvez imaginer une situation dans laquelle un mari et sa femme sont ensemble. Le mari se rend au bar en sachant que sa femme sera le conducteur désigné sur le chemin du retour et qu’elle ne consommera pas d’alcool ce soir-là. Le mari boit de l’alcool et est maintenant au-dessus de la limite et a conduit un véhicule au cours des deux heures précédentes », illustre-t-il.

La police peut entrer légalement dans le bar et interroger l’homme, ou l’attendre et demander que le mari subisse un alcooltest. « Même s’il se rend du côté passager de la voiture, s’il a conduit sa voiture dans les deux dernières heures et qu’il dépasse la limite permise », il pourrait être arrêté, explique l’avocat.

La loi établie pour enrayer un phénomène rare

Lors de la présentation du projet de loi, la ministre fédérale de la Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, avait déclaré que la loi aiderait à réprimer les personnes qui consomment de grandes quantités d’alcool en peu de temps, puis conduisent leur voiture ou leur bateau, dans l’espoir de rentrer chez elles avant que l’alcool ne soit complètement absorbé par leur système.

Auparavant, si les conducteurs pouvaient prouver qu’ils n’étaient pas encore au-dessus de la limite légale lorsqu’ils ont été arrêtés par la police, un tribunal pourrait les innocenter.

La nouvelle loi supprime cette défense.

« Son objectif principal est d’éliminer les comportements à risque associés à un bolus de consommation, que l’on appelle parfois drink and dash », avait alors déclaré Mme Wilson-Raybould.

Mais Me Brown considère la loi comme une solution à un problème rare. Pire, elle pourrait « criminaliser des Canadiens qui n’ont rien fait de mal ».

C’est à vous de prouver que vous étiez sobre

Le fait que l’accusation soit considérée comme un « renversement du fardeau de la preuve » en termes juridiques est un facteur de complications potentielles. La police n’a pas à prouver que votre taux d’alcoolémie était supérieur à la limite lorsque vous conduisiez, deux heures avant votre arrestation.

C’est maintenant à vous de prouver que vous étiez sobre.

On ne sait pas encore si des Canadiens ont déjà été arrêtés en vertu de la nouvelle loi, mais les avocats sondés par CBC News sont d’accord pour dire que, s’ils avaient à défendre un tel cas en cour, ils contesteraient la loi, quitte à se rendre en Cour suprême du Canada, dans le but de tester la constitutionnalité de la loi.

De plus, l’Association des avocats criminels de l’Ontario a émis un avertissement au gouvernement fédéral selon lequel la loi pourrait entraîner des milliers de condamnations injustifiées.

MADD en désaccord

Andy Murie de MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) affirme que les avocats ont mal compris la loi et les accuse d’« effrayer les gens ».

M. Murie, qui n’est pas avocat, insiste sur le fait que la police a toujours besoin d’une cause probable pour exiger un test de sobriété.

« Ce n’est que si les policiers soupçonnent que vous avez conduit en état d’ébriété et qu’ils enquêtent qu’ils pourraient se rendre chez vous ou au bar » et demander un test de sobriété, selon M. Murie.

Mais l’avocat torontois Calvin Barry, qui a défendu des centaines d’affaires de conduite en état d’ébriété, insiste pour dire que les déclarations de M. Murie sont fausses.

« La police n’a plus besoin de motifs raisonnables de croire », a déclaré Me Barry à CBC News.

Me Barry répète lui aussi que les Canadiens peuvent être arrêtés et accusés s’ils consomment de l’alcool dans les deux heures qui suivent le moment où ils cessent de conduire, même s’ils étaient sobres lorsqu’ils ont garé leur voiture et qu’ils prévoyaient de prendre un taxi, par exemple.

« C’est une violation flagrante des libertés civiles et d’une violation de la Charte des droits », selon Me Barry.

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Canadian Tech Calling: Moon and Mars and Mobile Phones

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Canadian technological know-how is helping develop reliable mobile communications for next-generation space missions, including manned missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

With many eyes here on Earth now focused on Mars, following the successful journey of ‘Percy’, the roving space exploration vehicle more formally known as Perseverance that is now cruising the Martian landscape, the continued role of Canadian researchers and technologists in space exploration has also drawn more attention.

A team of researchers at Simon Fraser University is working to make LTE/4G and Wi-Fi communications systems on the Moon a reality, along with others in the U.S. and Canada, under the umbrella of the Artemis Program at NASA.

That project will see the return of human beings to the Moon by 2024, and then to the surface of Mars after that.

As part of those efforts, NASA selected Nokia Bell Labs to build a test network and communications infrastructure to build interoperability standards among future cellular and Wi-Fi networks, so that all types of devices can be connected and support Artemis.

The network must provide critical communication capabilities for many different data transmission applications, including command and control functions; real-time navigation and remote control of surface rovers; as well as the streaming of high definition video, applications that are all vital to long-term human presence on a lunar or planetary surface.

“It sounds like far-out stuff, building networks on the Moon, Mars and even further out in our solar system,” says Stephen Braham, the director of the PolyLAB for Advanced Collaborative Networking at SFU. “But we’re actually testing Nokia’s technology right now.”

SFU’s PolyLAB for Advanced Collaborative Networking is doing some of that work at its Exploration Wireless Communications testbed at Vancouver’s Harbour Centre, in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

“(This is) what will allow us to build the ladder of technology standards needed to get cellular networks off Earth and into the solar system,” Braham said in a statement.

NASA and the CSA handed that critical testing to Braham and the scientists at PolyLAB, the Canadian component of what’s called the Exploration Wireless Communications (ExWC).

“Before space agencies can adopt these technologies, we need to prove we can operate between multiple vendors and different agencies, which is why NASA and CSA supports the ExWC testbed,” he continued.

The ExWC testbed launched back in 2018, testing high-speed wireless communications systems for space use, including 5G-forward LTE solutions and advanced Wi-Fi.

The SFU radio transmission systems, in the lab and on masts in the mountains in B.C. and the Yukon, are tested with various vendors and leading telecom providers, such including Vancouver-based Star Solutions and Sierra Wireless, another local company, as well as international telecommunications firms like Nokia.

Braham and associate professor Peter Anderson, who directs the SFU Telematics Research Laboratory that includes PolyLAB, both have extensive track records working on communication systems for NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

It includes extensive research on very early cellular and Wi-Fi networks in the Canadian High Arctic, where advanced field communications systems were set up to support the SETI Institute and Mars Institute-lead NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) up on Devon Island. 

That’s where Braham and his team tested the technology (developed in Canada) that became a big part of modern Wi-Fi, LTE, and now 5G technology, in order to meet up-front needs on human lunar missions if not all manned space flights.

From those early beginnings, the SFU team has now worked with other collaborators for the ongoing design and development of Canada’s prototype lunar/Mars surface communication networking systems, specifically the ExoMars rover, including Canadian space technology company MDA and the Canadian Communications Research Centre.

Braham is also an Associate Member on the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS), supporting CSA during discussions and development of international standards for computing, networking, and communications in space. He also worked for many years as a member of the CSA’s nine-member Space Exploration Advisory Committee (SEAC), providing community leadership and representation in aspects of human space exploration in Canada.

But, when space agency officials announced recently that a Canadian will be aboard when NASA returns to the Moon in 2023, well, Braham was not named as that astronaut.

Nevertheless, with his and his team’s help, that astronaut will make Canada the second country in history to have someone travel into deep space and fly around the Moon.

And maybe use a mobile phone to call us and tell us all about it.

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Canadian Consumer Coalition Calls for Affordable Internet on National Day of Action

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Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 16, a national day of action will be staged by Canadian consumer advocates, social justice groups, telecom policy experts, digital activists, and independent ISPs, or Internet Service Providers.

In a series of scheduled virtual events, there will be calls for the federal government and telecom regulators to take action and ensure affordable Internet and wireless services are available to all Canadians.

The free online event is open to the public, and planners and scheduled participants in the Day of Action for Affordable Internet hope consumers themselves will them in urging a range of actions be taken by the federal government, the CRTC and the country’s Competition Bureau.

Advocating for a more affordable Internet will be: ACORN Canada; Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship; activist and author Cory Doctorow; Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law Michael Geist; The Internet Society Canada Chapter; OpenMedia; Public Interest Advocacy Centre; Ryerson Leadership Lab; Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic; and TekSavvy Solutions.

And while a lack of competition has long been cited as a reason for high prices in Canada, the fact that a majority of subscribers stick with the ‘Big Three’ is also a stumbling block to leveling the playing field, at  least price-wise.

Canada’s Competitive Network Operators, a trade organization made up of Internet and telecommunications service providers that own/operate telecommunications networks across the country, is also fighting for a fair Internet pricing and accessibility structure.

Pandemic Pressures

Affordable Internet activists point out that, throughout the current COVID-19 crisis, reliable and affordable connectivity became even more essential. So did many things, in fact: many we had never deemed as so important, relevant or even as noteworthy as high speed Internet.

“The affordability and accessibility of the [I]nternet has never been more critical,” says Franca Palazzo, one of the event participants and the executive director of the Internet Society, Canada Chapter. “More than ever, we are being asked to work, learn and connect online.”

While it is true that many of our fellow Canadians are struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic, and they struggle, the coalition says, to pay some of the highest telecom bills in the world (while others can’t even get high-quality reliable connections), it is also true that many of us are using our high-speed connections more than ever with no increase in cost or decrease in service as a result of our pandemic-related stay-at-home, work-at-home or school-at-home activities.

The big three providers in Canada – Bell, Rogers and Telus – are among those companies that lifted data caps on cable and fibre-based residential Internet services; it’s a corporate goodwill gesture made as a result of pandemic and public pressures. The caps have been lifted until the end of June, where and when possible. (The Liberal government has directed the country’s largest telecom providers to cut specific cellphone prices in general.)

Not everyone is eligible for the pandemic discounts, however: some folks still using cellular (where, for example, high speed networking is not available) for their Internet connections are unable to get discounts because, the telecoms say, bandwidth and capacity would be threatened if caps were removed from cellular service.

“The digital divide in Canada is sometimes portrayed as exclusively a rural-urban divide,” says Sam Andrey, the director of policy and research at Ryerson Leadership Lab, where research and analysis into Internet usage is conducted. “But even in Canada’s largest cities, there are persistent gaps in access to digital services, devices and affordable [I]nternet at sufficient speeds that map onto other socioeconomic inequities, including income, age, race and ability,” he adds.

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Brim Financial Raises $25M Series B to transform the way people bank and shop

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TORONTO, March 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ – Brim Financial (Brim), a Canadian next-generation Fintech company and certified credit card issuer, today announced the close of a $25M Series B, co-led by Desjardins Group and US-based EPIC Ventures with strong participation from Canadian and US based investors including goeasy Ltd., White Owl and Impression Ventures.

Brim’s state-of-the-art technology stack and credit cards infrastructure leverages the company’s ability to directly access the payment rails as an issuer, enabling Brim to deliver a fundamentally transformative ecosystem of financial products for consumers and businesses.

The Series B financing will bolster Brim’s Platform as a Service (PaaS). Brim’s B2B2C strategy enables any bank, credit union, fintech or large commercial partner to seamlessly roll out Brim’s financial products platform, credit cards and integrated buy-now pay-later solutions, mobile and digital banking, and behavior-driven customer engagement, all embedded with a best-in-class globally open loyalty and rewards ecosystem available in real-time at all merchants worldwide. With Brim’s Platform as a Service, partners have the ability to customize every element of the platform and leverage Brim’s end-to-end services, on a modular and turnkey basis.

Our technology stack powers banking, loyalty and integrated e-commerce on a single platform, with the customer experience at the center of it all” said Rasha Katabi, CEO and Founder of Brim Financial. “Today’s digital environment has brought a new sense of urgency for institutions to assess how they will interact with their customers. We are well positioned to be at the forefront of this transformation that’s shaping the way we live, connect and engage for decades to come, and we’re excited to be working with investors who share the same vision.”

Brim has expanded beyond the direct-to-consumer space enabling large partners to leverage their digital first platform, suite of credit cards and financial products, and a globally open rewards and e-commerce ecosystem. Brim seamlessly integrates buy-now pay-later capabilities in all of its revolving consumer and business credit card products, providing ultimate flexibility for customers with a uniquely and strongly differentiated ecosystem.

“We’re thrilled to be part of Brim’s next chapter. There is tremendous potential in the industry, both in Canada and in the US, and Brim is uniquely positioned to deliver a significant and much needed transformation.” said Ryan Hemingway, Managing Director at EPIC Ventures. “Brim is combining banking and commerce like we haven’t seen in North America.”

Merged with its scalable technology platform, Brim has the largest open loyalty and rewards ecosystem as Brim’s technology stack directly leverages the global payment network. Brim’s Loyalty and Rewards are live at all points of sale globally, both in physical stores and online.  Any merchant can be live and part of the ecosystem in less than 3 minutes.

“Brim’s platform delivers industry-leading payments technology to their customers at an astonishing pace,” Martin Brunelle, Vice-President, Growth, Acquisitions and Development at Desjardins Group.  “Desjardins has earmarked $100 M to invest in technology companies and investment funds who can support our different business units in their digital transformation needs.  We’re very excited to be partnering with Brim.”

With its platform built entirely from the ground up and directly on the global payment network, Brim is positioned to transform the future of the credit card industry and digital banking products with the world’s largest open loyalty and rewards ecosystem. Brim has notably on-boarded hundreds of merchants to its rewards ecosystem since its launch, and rapid expansion will continue to be a key focus for the company going forward.

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