Pedestrian and cyclist safety: Ottawa needs to act now to save lives

Side guards should become mandatory for heavy goods vehicles immediately

NDP Transport critic Hoang Mai (Brossard-La Prairie) is putting the heat on the Conservatives to make installing side guards mandatory on heavy vehicles.  

“This is a simple and effective measure that can save lives,” said Mai.

The coroner’s report on the death of cyclist Mathilde Blais, who was struck by a tractor semi-trailer, was a reminder of the importance of these side guards, which can prevent pedestrians and cyclists from being pulled under vehicles.  

“We can’t wait for the next tragic accident in order to take action,” said Mai. “The Conservatives should act by adopting my bill and making it a priority.”

Last spring, Mai tabled a private member’s bill, C-603, aiming to address this issue. The NDP has spent the last eight years trying to include the installation of these side guards in the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act, but has been met with indifference from the Conservative government.  

For this call for action, Hoang Mai was joined by Jeannette Holman-Price, whose daughter Jessica was killed in 2005 after being struck by a snowplough. Holman-Price has been fighting ever since to make truck side guards mandatory.  

“The federal government has absolutely no reason to refuse to make these side guards mandatory,” said Holman-Price. “Studies have already shown beyond any doubt the effectiveness of this measure to prevent death or serious injury. Some municipalities have begun using them. Now it is time for federal action to protect all Canadians. This needs to be a federal law to ensure that everybody has this necessary protection against avoidable injuries and fatalities.”

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Let the Liberal flip-flopping on Iraq begin!

Three weeks ago, Justin Trudeau took a stand on any mission on Iraq:

“Mr. Trudeau, however, did not completely rule out sending jet fighters in the future, such as when Canada sent six CF-18s to take part in airstrikes in Libya in 2011”
– Globe and Mail, September 11, 2014

So he’s open to airstrikes. Two weeks later though he said:

“The Liberal Party is not supportive of any extension into a combat role. We think Canada’s role should be strictly non-combat.”
– Justin Trudeau, Scrum, September 25 2014

Well that’s that, he’s firmly closed the door on things. There’s nothing Stephen Harper could do to get Liberal Party support. Oh wait:

“We cannot support any new military mission in Iraq without hearing directly from the government the full details of what it proposes, and without that mission being brought before Parliament for review and examination.”
– Marc Garneau, Liberal Party statement, September 28 2014

Maybe all this confusion is based on something Justin Trudeau had to say:

“I think Mr. Mulcair is, you know — from what I hear, has a lot more questions about Canada’s involvement”
– Justin Trudeau, Scrum, September 17, 2014

About the only thing Liberals have been consistent about is opposing a vote in the House of Commons. Canadians deserve better.

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Statement by the NDP on National Seniors’ Day

The Official Opposition’s Critic for Seniors, Irene Mathyssen (London – Fanshawe), made the following statement to mark National Seniors’ Day:

“On National Seniors’ Day, we honour the women and men who built this country. Canada’s seniors made incredible sacrifices to defend our values and worked to create the institutions and services we all benefit from. Many seniors continue to give back to their communities by dedicating countless hours to volunteer work in their communities.

After working hard their whole lives, Canadian seniors deserve to spend their golden years in dignity and security. But the Conservatives have blocked efforts to boost Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) benefits, putting the well-being of many seniors in jeopardy.

New Democrats understand the importance of taking steps today to ensure that no senior will grow old in poverty and isolation. We are the only party with a national seniors’ strategy designed to boost seniors’ financial security and improve their quality of life. The NDP will continue working to ensure that Canadian seniors can retire in dignity.”

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Statement by the NDP to mark Women’s History Month

Official Opposition Status of Women’s critic Niki Ashton (Churchill) made the following statement to mark Women’s History Month:

“During Women’s History Month, we join with many to celebrate the women who have been changing our world.

Incredible women have fought for equality and justice in countless ways.  We are proud of the strides women have made, but gender equality is still a long way off.

Canadian women still face discrimination. They not only earn less than their male counterparts, they are disproportionately found in precarious, low-paid positions and in poverty.  Consecutive Conservative and Liberal governments have failed to implement critical programs like affordable, universally accessible child care – a significant barrier for women. Important supports for advocacy and research to address discrimination have been eliminated.

Women and girls continue to be the target of violence and violations of their basic human rights. The Conservative government’s refusal to hold an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women shows callous disregard for Indigenous women.

New Democrats believe that women deserve equality and justice. We join with many Canadian women and all Canadians in celebrating Women’s History Month and recommitting to the fight for equality.”

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Conservatives vote against making Question Period more relevant

The Conservatives don’t believe that Canadians deserve truthful, clear answers and have voted to kill an NDP motion to improve Question Period.

“By opposing our motion, the Conservatives have said to Canadians that the government doesn’t have to answer their questions regardless of how legitimate they are. This is quite disappointing,” said NDP House Leader, Peter Julian (Burnaby – New Westminster).

Following the Speaker’s recent appeal for assistance in improving the tone of Question Period, the NDP introduced a practical proposal to force ministers to provide concrete answers and ensure that future governments will be held accountable to Canadians.

“When buffoonery and personal attacks are the response to legitimate questions on issues like deploying Canadian soldiers on a military mission to Iraq, it’s clear that something is broken in Ottawa and the Conservatives don’t care to fix it,” said Julian.

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