MADD kicks off 25th Project Red Ribbon campaign, Conservative senator lends support to campaign
Ottawa South EMC
November 8, 2012
EMC news - Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada got its red ribbon awareness campaign underway on Parliament Hill on Nov. 1, an event that marked the 25th year of the annual effort to promote safe and sober driving.
"For a quarter century, MADD Canada's red ribbon has been a simple yet powerful symbol of the fight against impaired driving," said Gaetan Gendron, vice-president of MADD Ottawa "We want our red ribbons to be seen everywhere, as reminder that it is never acceptable to drive impaired."
He cited statistics that between 1,250 and 1,500 Canadians are killed and more than 63,000 injured in impaired driving incidents each year.
"These deaths and injuries are senseless and completely preventable."
Those who become involved in MADD Canada often do so in the wake of a personal tragedy involving impaired driving. Gendron is one such person, as was special guest Marjory LeBreton, leader of the government in the Senate.
LeBreton, who lost her only daughter and first-born grandson to an impaired driver, has been a steadfast supporter of impaired driving legislation and enhanced victim's rights throughout her career.
"To me, this red ribbon is a symbol of both safety and the victim," she said.
"If everyone takes one of these red ribbons and truly thinks of the message behind it and then makes the commitment to never drive impaired, imagine the impact it would have. Imagine the crashes that could be prevented. Imagine the physical and emotional pain that could be prevented. That is the hope of the red ribbon campaign."
LeBreton acknowledged the progress made throughout the 25 years of the campaign, adding there is still "a great deal of work yet to be done."
In addition to the volunteers who help implement the red ribbon campaign throughout Canadian communities, MADD Canada's biggest partner is the law enforcement community.
Before moving to Ottawa, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson served in several British Columbia jurisdictions between 1985 and 2005.
During his days as an officer, Paulson saw the tragic results of impaired driving all too often.
"I am proud and eager to lend the RCMP's support to the launch of the 25th annual red ribbon campaign," said Paulson. "Although education and law enforcement efforts have helped to reduce the threat, this deadly behavior is still a problem in Canada."
Paulson mentioned the number of Canadians who die each year in impaired driving incidents are three times the number of those murdered, showing there are still too many people are engaging in this dangerous activity and too many looking the other way when they see someone doing it.
This message was repeated by OPP Chief Superintendent Gary Couture.
"The (OPP), together with MADD and our partners, continue to work towards raising awareness, to educate communities through campaigns like this one," he said.
"Our goal is to eradicate impaired driving. We will continue to fight this crime, not only now but all the time, 365 days a year."
The OPP, like the RCMP, will be flying red ribbons as they conduct enforcement on the country's roads.