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By Jordan W. Charness

It’s quite amazing what laws are out there on the books. As we all know, living in society with other people means that there are rules and regulations to cover just about every situation. There are even situations covered you wouldn’t believe existed.

While flipping through the criminal code I found a special transportation law that applies to only a handful of people in all of Canada in general, but applies to absolutely no one at the present time.

Before I get into this amazing law that I’m sure you will find fascinating (even though it probably does not apply to you, yet), let’s take a look at how much time is spent by our lawmakers dealing with vehicles, driving and transportation.

Regulating driving is generally a provincial affair, and each province gets to decide the rules of the road for people driving in their province. These rules apply to any driver driving a vehicle anywhere in that province no matter where the car is registered and no matter where in the world the driver obtained his or her driver’s licence.

While many of these laws are similar there are important differences from place to place.

Even cities get involved and can regulate things like parking and zoning differently. For example, the speed limit on a side street in different cities could be 30, 40 or even 50 km/h and it may be illegal to park overnight in one suburb while perfectly legal in the next.

Since ignorance of law is no excuse, it’s always up to you to find out and obey whatever laws may be in effect wherever you travel.

While the federal government rarely gets involved in the day-to-day rules of driving in each province and city, the Government of Canada often enforces local rules, at least on provincial highways where the RCMP has been tasked to patrol.

Where the federal government does get involved in transportation matters right across Canada is when your driving is so bad that it becomes a criminal offence. This includes drinking and driving, dangerous driving, vehicular manslaughter, assault with a vehicle and a whole bunch of other crimes that you can commit with your car, motorcycle, boat, train, or even space shuttle!

Which brings us to that special law I was talking about earlier. According to the criminal code, if any Canadian crew member commits what would be considered a crime in Canada during a space flight or while at the space station, they will be charged with a Canadian criminal code offence when they return to Earth – or more specifically, Canada!

This would presumably include assaults, sabotage, or in any other act that might imperil the safety of the flight, the crew, the space station or even Martians if they could be proven to exist.

You can think of this is an example of future-thinking legislation that will be useful when more of us have the opportunity to fly into space; or as a special reminder to Senator Marc Garneau the next time he takes the space shuttle out for a spin.

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