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B.C. man facing criminal charge for canoeing while drunk

An empty canoe is seen in this image. (Credit: Shutterstock) An empty canoe is seen in this image. (Credit: Shutterstock)

A B.C. man who was drunk and apparently belligerent while canoeing could be facing criminal charges, according to authorities.

The Grand Forks RCMP, in a news release, said the incident unfolded on the afternoon of June 29 in Christina Lake. Officers were called to the lake for reports that a man was intoxicated and when they located him he "refused to comply with directions," according to the statement.

"The man eventually made his way to a dock and hid under there for several minutes again refusing to comply. After several minutes, a police officer was forced to go into the water and bring him out," Detachment Commander Sgt. Darren Peppler wrote in the statement.

The 51-year-old, who is a resident of the Kootenay community, was taken into custody and released when he sobered up, police say. Peppler, in an email to CTV News, said the two breath samples provided by the man registered at nearly twice the legal limit.

Peppler said this is the first time in his 23-year career he has seen a case where a criminal charge for impaired operation of a conveyance involving a canoe has been recommended by police.

"The definition of conveyance includes motor vehicle (most common), vessel, aircraft or railway equipment. Here, the officer treated the canoe as a vessel. There is also case law that supports this," he writes. 

The case he is referring to is a precedent-setting decision out of Ontario where a judge ruled that a canoe constitutes a vessel and operating it while impaired is a crime. In the case that brought the issue before the court, an eight-year-old drowned after a canoe flipped over. The ruling was upheld on appeal. Top Stories

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