VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The mother of a young woman killed in a drunk driving crash in Surrey is disappointed she wasn’t invited to a meeting with Canada’s justice minister yesterday.
Markita Kaulius, who has been pushing for tougher sentences for impaired drivers since her daughter Kassandra was killed in a crash in Surrey in May 2011, didn’t know Peter MacKay was in town until after he had left.
“I would have very much loved to have had an invitation,” Kaulius tells News1130.
“I hope that he’s open to listening to what we have to say. I have over 25 letters that were sent to me from other parents who have asked me to pass them along to Mr. MacKay. They’re very powerful letters and I think it’s something that should be discussed.”
Kaulius had a meeting scheduled with former Justice Minister Rob Nicholson on July 15th, but it was cancelled at the last minute when Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffled his cabinet.
“We had a mom fly in from Edmonton to meet with him as well, and unfortunately she never got the cancellation notice,” says Kaulius. “I’ve been told that I’ll have to wait until September, October or November to meet with him. It’s disappointing.”
Mackay took over the justice portfolio earlier this month and he is now working on a Victim’s Bill of Rights. He was in Vancouver yesterday meeting with stakeholders to get their input.
“The government continues to demonstrate its commitment to giving victims of crime a greater voice in the criminal justice and corrections systems,” MacKay says in a statement. “As we develop a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, it is essential that we hear the stories and experiences of those directly involved with our criminal justice system.”
Natasha Warren was sentenced to three years and one month in prison in December of last year for the drunk driving crash that killed Kassandra Kaulius.
Warren’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
“Most people don’t realize, but impaired driving is the number criminal cause of death in Canada. We lose four people per day to drunk driving and another 174 are injured,” says Kaulius.
“I’ve been watching the news and in the last week we’ve lost eight people to impaired driving. For every day that we wait and don’t change the sentences on this, it will continue to happen. We shouldn’t wait another two or three years before the government decides to act on it.”
Warren applied for parole after serving six months and she has a hearing coming up in November.