Yesterday, MP Gord Johns introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons to establish a national cycling strategy. The proposed legislation, Bill C-312, would make the federal Minister of Transport responsible for developing and implementing a national cycling strategy that would, among other things, include measures to
● identify fiscal and policy requirements to encourage commuter, tourism, and recreational cycling;
● help build and maintain cycling infrastructure;
● maximize cycling’s role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
● recognize cycling’s contributions to health and well-being;
● outline achievable targets for the growth of commuter cycling; and
● identify import duties and other restrictions that impact the cost of cycling.
In addition to having to conduct broad consultations, Bill C-312 would also require the Minister of Transport to convene a conference with other federal ministers as well as representatives of the provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, Aboriginal communities, cycling organizations, and businesses as part of the process for developing the national cycling strategy.
Gord Johns is a NDP Member of Parliament for a BC riding on Vancouver Island. Not surprisingly, he describes himself as an avid cyclist. He once ran a bike rental operation in Tofino, BC, and nowadays, he regularly cycles to work on Parliament Hill when the House is in session. He does this summer or winter, including the day last winter when Ottawa had a record 51.2 cm snowstorm. He said it was easy because there were no cars on the road that day.
While there are many reasons for adopting a national cycling strategy, Canada clearly needs one to help combat climate change. We know that the transportation sector is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions (the bulk of which comes from motor vehicles), and that one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to lower these carbon emissions is to get more people to use their bicycles for basic transportation. In fact, cycling is the perfect litmus test to see how serious the federal government is about dealing with climate change.
At the national level, the organization “Canada Bikes” has been calling on the federal government to develop a national cycling strategy for a number of years, and they have put out a short, but interesting publication on what could go into such a strategy. They also highlighted an informative document that compares national cycling strategies from various countries around the world.
Although private member’s bills rarely become law, lets hope Bill C-312 can find the necessary support in Parliament, especially with the Liberal Government. If you think it’s time for Canada to adopt a national cycling strategy, you may want to send off an email to your Member of Parliament.
.Share this with others: