John Weston: Why I voted against Bill C-603 even though I support bike safety

A tale of two votes

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      The binary voting system “support/oppose”, though essential to our Parliament, often obscures the true nature of debate in our democratic institutions.

      For instance, I voted against Bill C-603 last Wednesday (December 10) in the House of Commons, a measure that would have required new or imported large trucks to have sideguards.

      Did that mean I opposed the motive of the bill? No, I support the motive, to cut down on cycling and pedestrian fatalities caused when truckers unwittingly crush cyclists.

      Did the vote signify a disinterest in cyclists? Ironically, I’ve championed active transportation, including cycling. I created Bike Day on the Hill and worked with cycling groups across Canada last year to launch Bike Day in Canada. Annually, I “Ride My Riding”, participate in the Vancouver-Whistler Gran Fondo, Rotary Ride for Rescue, and other cycling events. I also commute to work on a bike. I love cycling.

      Did my vote against C-603 signal my stance about health and fitness generally? In fact, only minutes before the vote on C-603 MPs had stood unanimously to pass Bill S-211, the bill crafted by Senator Nancy Greene Raine and me to create National Health and Fitness Day in Canada. Many of the MPs were wearing a bicycle lapel pin I had provided.

      Did my vote reflect an opinion on the mover of the C-603? In fact, I respect NDP MP Hoang Mai (Brossard–La Prairie), among other things, for the way he has stimulated debate about the importance of cycling safety in Canada.

      Is the vote on a bill the end of the discussion? No, in fact, the vote may trigger a discussion whose results accomplish more than would have been accomplished by passing the bill. In my case, I have communicated with my Bike-Partisan Steering Committee, a group of cycling advocates who help inform me about bike-related issues. We are more dedicated than ever to accomplish our goals, such as advocating for healthy physical exercise and safe cycling; promoting the economic and tourism aspects of cycling; and advocating for fiscal incentives for cycling.

      So why did I oppose C-603? I wanted to support Mai’s motives in promoting safe cycling but opposed the bill for its cost and ineffectiveness. I learned that, although tragic, the true number of annual mortalities is extremely low in the type of event targeted by C-603; the measures proposed might not be as effective as other measures to prevent such horrible incidents; and that the measure would have cost the trucking industry half a billion dollars, over a period of several years.

      So there were two developments on December 10 relating to C-603: the formal vote in the House that defeated the measure, and, arguably more important, the beginning of a discussion that will spur on events that may ultimately enhance bike safety.




      Dec 16, 2014 at 12:55pm

      A few things:
      1 - What are these other "effective measures", and will John Weston create a bill to implement them, and
      2 - What is the life of a cyclist worth? Apparently not as much as keeping the support of certain industries that I imagine support the Conservatives.
      How about a proactive approach John? You oppose this particular bill, but what will you do next if you're pro-bicycle?


      Dec 16, 2014 at 1:49pm

      That's nice. It's a collossal waste of resources & time given the far more pressing issues of Healthcare, Education, Economy, Foreign Workers taking Canadian Jobs to support Corporate Welfare driven by Conservatives for thier support of Corporations especially Big Oil over Canadians interests.

      Not to mention the Corporate Welfare doled out to the Auto Sector by the Conservatives we should get gold plated Trucks at least.

      How come you hyper partisan Neo-Con Conservatives don't write about far more your important issues that affect all Canadian including your Conservative base?

      Where was the Bi-Partisan Steering Committee on FIPA? None? LOL!

      Like the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA)

      - Where Communist China now has NAFTA on Steroids like powers over Canadian Sovereign Resources?

      - Signed super quietly in Valdivostok Russia by the Neo Cons,

      - Chinese investors can sue Canada for any actions by the federal government or the B.C. government (or legislature or courts) relating to Chinese assets,

      - Even pro right wing Conservative newspapers like the National Post raised alarms about the ONE SIDED COMMUNIST CHINA FIPA with Canada,

      - "Even if found unconstitutional by a court down the road...once the treaty has been ratified, none of the obligations assumed by Canada can be modified unless China agrees," (there is a 15 year cancellation clause) treaty law expert Gus Van Harten said,

      So screw your support for Bicycles how come you Neo-Cons support Communist China's rights over any Canadian be they Conservative, Liberal, NDP or other?

      Thanks to the Conservatives Canada and it's Soverignty over it's own Resources have been given away to Communist China.

      Canada is already the most sued nation under NAFTA with about $5 Billion in suits in process and expanding!

      Guess who pays? Yes you and me Canadians regardless of Political affiliation!!!

      Canadian history will remember this Conservative government of which you are part of for FIPA (like Mulroney for NAFTA) not your vote or support for Bicycles.


      Dec 16, 2014 at 1:52pm

      Truly impressed with the bicycle lapel pins, John. Wow! Way to save a cyclist.

      a constituent

      Dec 16, 2014 at 2:24pm

      Hey John, I almost forgot that you are my MP. We don't see or hear much of you, except when you send those annoying mailers out at great taxpayer expense as part of the Cons' relentless negative campaigning.
      Brilliant idea with the lapel pins. Do you follow any other pressing issues?


      Dec 16, 2014 at 3:04pm

      " the measure would have cost the trucking industry half a billion dollars, over a period of several years."

      This excuse by industry is complete bullshit on the face of it.

      I've seen estimates that these things pay for themselves in fuel economy savings alone in just a few years.

      One of the most dishonest, obfuscating opinion pieces I've read in a long time.


      Dec 16, 2014 at 3:29pm

      "Estimates on the cost of side guards range from $600 to $2,600"

      Fuel savings estimates are in the range of 5%, which for a large truck has a payback period of less than ONE YEAR!

      This research took me 5 minutes! How long did this dishonest MP (or more likely a political aide) take to write his essay above?

      What a crock of sh##. These things save money AND lives. They have in Europe for many years.


      Dec 16, 2014 at 4:03pm

      John Weston delivers more goobleygookum and more drivel and dizzying spin yet again. I live in his constituency and I fail to ever feel that we have an MP who cares what we think or need on the Sunshine Coast.

      He supports Harper and is a Conservative for more reasons than he has fingers and toes and bicycle pedals.

      Shame, we all pay dearly for his and their policies and budget priorities!

      out at night

      Dec 16, 2014 at 9:18pm

      Reminds me of the driver who dipsy-doodles around a traffic calmed intersection then tries to reassure the miffed cyclist (me) by saying, "I ride a bike!"

      Yeah well yer not riding a bike right now bud and what you just did sucks.