moved for leave to introduce Bill C-531, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (public transit operators).
Mr. Speaker, recently in Thunder Bay we have had some violent incidents. Two transit drivers from Local 966 of the Amalgamated Transit Union have become victims of assault while carrying out their duties on our behalf.
Harassment and assault against those who have dedicated their lives to the service of the public is completely unacceptable to the people of Thunder Bay—Rainy River and indeed Canadians coast to coast.
Because of the nature of their work and their inherent inability to defend themselves against aggressive acts while carrying out their primary duties, transit drivers face a number of unusual and unpredictable threats in their workplace that most Canadians do not.
I hope this bill will act as a deterrent to such violent incidents upon transit drivers in our communities and complement what I hope will be more vigorous efforts by provincial and local governments to offer greater physical protections to transit operators while they are on the job and serving the public.
This bill has been drafted in consultation with my New Democrat colleagues from across Canada, and I would like to thank them for sharing their thoughts and support for putting this bill forward. I would also like to thank the newly independent member of Parliament for Edmonton—St. Albert, who tabled a similar bill in the last Parliament and consulted with me on the drafting of this bill, and who indeed supports this bill.
In closing, I would like to assure members of the Amalgamated Transit Union and other transit operators across Canada who devote themselves to providing a very high level of public service that New Democrats and Canadians stand with them and are committed to making their workplace as safe as possible.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)