National Cycling Strategy Act

An Act to establish a national cycling strategy

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.


Gord Johns  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Outside the Order of Precedence (a private member's bill that hasn't yet won the draw that determines which private member's bills can be debated), as of Oct. 4, 2016
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment provides for the development and implementation of a national strategy on cycling.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

TransportationAdjournment Proceedings

April 9th, 2019 / 7:20 p.m.
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Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to talk about a question that I brought to the floor of the House of Commons back in December. It was on the eve, sadly, of a cycling death that happened here in Ottawa. We know we have lost people in all of our communities across this great country to cycling deaths because we do not have enough safe cycling infrastructure in our country. We know that the government has promised to deal with that.

In the Liberals' government term, three and a half years, they have produced only one report. That report is titled “Active Transportation: A Survey of Policies, Programs and Experience”. That report was done in October 2018 and still there is no action. I am hoping today that we will get an update for that report.

I would also like to pass on my condolences to the family and the loved ones who lost their family member in this tragic accident, but also to those across our country, including in my community of Port Alberni where we lost two children just last year in 2018 to cycling accidents.

We know that if we have a national strategy, a clear plan to grow cycling in our country, that creates safer ways and pathways where people can use active transportation, including cycling, we will improve the health of Canadians, we will lower greenhouse gas emissions, we will lower infrastructure costs and it is good for the economy.

I will go to children because they are a great measurement. In the Netherlands, 50% of children ride their bikes to school. In Sweden, that is at 20%. In Germany, it is 15%. Denmark is 40%. Here in Canada, it is 2%. We have to ask why. It is not because of the size of our country, because 35% of Canadians live in three cities and in fact 83% of Canadians live in urban centres. It is not because of the climate either because we know that between Copenhagen and Toronto there is a difference of about one degree and we are far off the mark of what people are doing in Sweden. It is because they have a plan. They have clear targets and dedicated funding purely for safe cycling. They invest in marketing and education, and they are committed to growing cycling.

I tabled Bill C-312 to develop a national cycling strategy. There was a motion that went through FCM that was very similar to my bill and was passed with 95% support.

Canada Bikes endorsed my bill, wanting a national cycling strategy. The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment has been calling for a national cycling strategy. The cities of Victoria, Toronto, Ottawa, Cumberland, and Port Alberni and Tofino in my riding, have all supported my call for a national cycling strategy. We have had support from the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition, and I want to thank Margaret Harris for her work with the coalition. She just stepped down as the president. With the Alberni Valley cycling association, John Mayba and Sarah Thomas helped pull that together. Lazarus Difiore from Arrowsmith Bikes has been really hard on me, pressing me to bring the message to Ottawa that we need a national cycling strategy.

On a personal note, I rode my bike every day that I sat in the House of Commons. Until just a month ago, I had ridden my bike to the Hill and I really believe it saved my life. There is a British study that says we reduce our risk of heart disease by 40% to 46% if we ride our bike to work. Heart disease costs $12 billion to the Canadian economy every year. Some people say that if we could get a magic pill to save $4 billion in health care costs, cycling would be it.

I would like to get an update from the government today about that report and how we are going to move forward. The National Bike Summit is just around the corner on May 13 and 14 here in Ottawa. Hopefully the parliamentary secretary could speak to that.

Dutch Heritage DayPrivate Members' Business

January 28th, 2019 / 11:35 a.m.
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Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege and an honour to stand in this new chamber today, the first member of the New Democratic Party to debate in the House of Commons in West Block. It is also fitting that in this new place, the first order of business is to debate a motion recognizing our past, our heritage and who we are.

The House of Commons, in many ways, is the physical embodiment of our democracy. Following the fire of 1916, the House of Commons in Centre Block heard parliamentarians debate and shape Canada for over 100 years.

With the motion before us, we are teaching this new place those lessons, teaching this new institution how it is that we have come to be who and where we are today. Motion No. 207 would designate May 5 as Dutch heritage day. Doing so would recognize the sacrifices made by Canadians in the liberation of the Netherlands and the past, present and future contributions made to Canada by Canadians of Dutch heritage.

It is a very fitting motion to be the first debated here, and one that I and my New Democratic Party colleagues fully support. I believe that heritage motions present us with an opportunity to not just learn about our past but to find ways to act on those lessons. They also provide us with a chance to see what those connections look like today and what we can continue to learn from those nations and cultures.

The bond Canada and the Netherlands share is a unique one that will forever tie our two nations together. Motion No. 207 would designate May 5, because it is Liberation Day in the Netherlands.

During World War II, from September 1944 to April 1945, the Netherlands were under Nazi occupation. Canadian forces led the allies' effort to liberate the Dutch people. More than 7,600 Canadians gave their lives in that effort and are forever resting in war cemeteries across the Netherlands.

On May 5, 1945, Royal Canadian Regiment General Charles Foulkes accepted the German surrender of the Netherlands. While the winter of 1945 was known as “hunger winter” and saw millions of Dutch people in suffering and starvation, the summer of 1945 was called “Canadian summer”. It was marked by weeks of parties, parades and celebrations.

The efforts and sacrifices made by the Canadian military to liberate the Dutch people is something that neither country will ever forget. However, learning this history also provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the work that still needs to be done to respect and live up to the solemn promise we have made to all our military veterans. My colleagues, the member for Courtenay—Alberni and the member for London—Fanshawe, have been tirelessly pushing the government to treat our veterans with the respect and dignity they deserve. This is something both Liberal and Conservative governments continue to fail on.

I was proud to see the member for Courtenay—Alberni's motion to have lapsed Veterans Affairs department funding reallocated and actually spent on veterans pass in November of 2018. It will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in funding actually used for service provision.

During World War II, Canada also provided refuge to the Dutch royal family, but we did not simply provide a safe haven. In 1943, the maternity ward of the Ottawa Civic Hospital was briefly declared to be extra-territorial by the Canadian government, allowing Crown Princess Juliana's child, Princess Margriet, to be born only a Dutch citizen.

While we could look back on this as just a diplomatic gesture to foreign royalty, I believe it shows much more and provides us with a lesson that becomes more important with each passing day. Across the western world, immigration, and especially refugee resettlement, has become a very divisive debate. Some people, even in this place, seek to misinform Canadians about refugees and label them drains on society that have little to offer Canada. Some even call them illegal.

The Dutch royal family shows us that refugees come from all walks of life, from the poor to royalty. When a family is in immediate danger, it may have no choice but to flee and seek asylum. As we reflect on how Canada can best contribute to finding solutions to the global refugee crisis that now sees over 65 million forcibly displaced persons globally, let us all remember Canada's humanitarian legacy and the lesson the Dutch royal family can teach us: anyone can become a refugee.

Canada can and must do better, not just in providing asylum but in showing refugees the respect and dignity they deserve by ensuring that they have access to the services needed to get on their feet and thrive here.

Our cousins, as the Dutch Prime Minister considered us in his historic address to the House of Commons in the fall, continue to innovate and make contributions to the world. According to the 2016 census, over 500,000 Canadians are of Dutch ethnic origin. The 2006 figures, which include full or partial ancestry, put that number as high as one million. Many Canadians maintain strong ties to the Netherlands. For that reason, it makes sense to look to our Dutch neighbours to see what new lessons can be learned.

Despite promising that 2015 would be the last election under first past the post, our Prime Minister abandoned that promise and refused to work with MPs on electoral reform. In a bizarre excuse for his failure, the Prime Minister suggested that proportional representation could give fringe views the balance of power in our democracy. If only he were more aware of our Dutch counterparts. The 2017 Dutch election showed just the opposite.

The Dutch PR system makes it difficult for a single party to obtain a majority mandate and forces parties to work together and compromise. Despite it winning the second most seats in the 2017 election, no other party is willing to work with the Party for Freedom, a party considered by many to be a far right, anti-immigrant, nationalist party. As a result, this extreme view holds no power, as it is not supported by the majority of Dutch people.

The PR system also helps send more women to parliament, with 36% of seats held by women. That is 10% higher than in Canada. Making every vote count may also very well improve voter turnout. In 2017, over 80% of Dutch voters cast ballots, and turnout typically hovers in the 70% range. In 2015, we saw Canada's highest turnout in over 20 years, but that was only 68.5%.

Last, despite our Prime Minister's lofty rhetoric on the environment, we know much remains to be done to even come close to meeting our Paris targets. We also know that buying a 65-year-old leaky pipeline does not help us hit those targets.

However, what we do know about are ways that will help. For example, we could be making investments in our communities to make our streets safer and more accommodating for cyclists and pedestrians. The Netherlands has long been famous for its embrace of urban cycling culture and has made significant progress in moving away from city planning around the car. This has made its streets safer, greener and more pedestrian and bike friendly.

In 2016, my colleague, the member for Courtenay—Alberni, tabled Bill C-312, an act to establish a national cycling strategy. His bill would see the federal government work collaboratively across departments and with the provinces and territories to develop and implement a national framework for improving urban cycling infrastructure and programs across Canada. I hope parliamentarians can learn from our Dutch counterparts and better embrace urban cycling. Supporting Bill C-312 would be a great first step.

Canadians can be very proud of our country's Dutch heritage and shared history with the Netherlands. I encourage all Canadians to learn more about it. It is very clear to me that we can learn many valuable lessons from this heritage and our continued close relationship. We can learn from the past. We can learn from the present. I have no doubt that there will be lessons we can learn in the future as well.

Global WarmingEmergency Debate

October 15th, 2018 / 11:25 p.m.
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Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert. I would also like to acknowledge that we are on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin and Anishinabe people.

It is an honour to join this emergency debate. If I seem a little tired, it is because I came in this morning on the red eye and it is 11:25 p.m. here. However, I would never miss this opportunity to speak and bring a message from the people of Courtenay—Alberni about how concerning this issue is. Clearly it is the most important issue, not just for people in my riding and our country but globally.

The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an urgent call to action on the most serious threat facing our planet: global climate change. Thousands of scientists and experts from around the world warn that if major and unprecedented action is not taken immediately, it will no longer be possible to limit global warming to 1.5°C, and the consequences will be devastating for people in ecosystems across the globe.

Canada is failing to meet even its own modest emission reduction targets. Now the IPCC is telling us that our current emissions must be cut by 45% in order to stave off disaster. This is serious, and after a summer of soaring temperatures, rising floods and raging wildfires in my home province of British Columbia, Canadians are already feeling the impacts of climate change. If we fail to act now to fight climate change, the cost will be immense: families losing homes and property in extreme weather events, farmers losing crops and all Canadians losing species and the ecosystem that make up our natural heritage.

This is real. The PBO said that the impact of intense storms and intense weather would cost us about $1 billion a year. We know that it is supposed accelerate to about $5 billion by 2020, which is only two years out, and it could be upwards of nearly $50 billion by 2050. We are accelerating not just fiscal debt and shouldering that to future generations, but we are shouldering them with a huge environmental fiscal debt. We need to be much more responsible.

The world's scientists have stated clearly and firmly that we must take bold and immediate action to ensure a safe and sustainable world. Canadians expect more from all of us and they expect us to come together to address this issue, which is why we are here today. It is really important that we work together on finding solutions.

I think about some of the things we might be facing if we are in a world where global warming has reached 2° above pre-industrial times. The Arctic Ocean could be free of sea ice in the summer. It could be once per century if we are at 1.5°C, but compare that with once per decade if we are at 2°C. If we look at our coral reefs, we could see them decline between 70% and 90% at a 1.5° rise in global temperature. Virtually all, 99%, would be lost with the global temperate rising 2°. We should all be very nervous about that.

I think about my own community in Port Alberni. We have seen three hundred-year floods in the last four years. We have seen huge floods in Alberta, and as a I mentioned earlier, the fires raging across British Columbia and Alberta in the last couple of years. We had a drought in 2014 and we were worried about our salmon making it up our streams. We could have lost several species in salmon, and our salmon are struggling. Every day and every year we hear about the challenge. They are fighting to get up our streams. as warming temperatures are warming our rivers and making it more difficult for them, specifically our sockeye.

We talked about the forest fires. We could barely breathe in my riding, yet some people still do not believe that climate change is real, that the impact is real. We could not breathe for almost two weeks. It was like smoking five cigarettes a day, which is what the medical health officer compared it to, yet some people are still not awake to this being real and that there is a sense of urgency.

Ocean acidification is happening in our riding. As my colleague from Quebec talked about earlier, we have had our worst year in 50 years with respect to weather affecting agriculture, including in my riding.

We can look at what the other political parties have done in the past. The Conservatives muzzled scientists, attacked environmental organizations and they lacked the courage and commitment that was necessary to tackle this very important issue.

The Conservatives ran huge environmental deficits. The Conservative Party runs on a platform of being fiscally responsible, yet it leaves huge deficits for future generations to clean up.

The Liberals ran with two major promises. One promise was to tackle climate change and the other was on electoral reform. Clearly, they have broken both promises.

I mentioned earlier that in June 2016, I asked the minister why she did not follow through with her promise to end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Instead, what she chose to do was to go out and support her cabinet and her government's purchase of a leaky pipeline. Not only did the Liberals not follow through with that promise, but they went in the other direction. It is very concerning. They believe that we need to own a pipeline to tackle climate change. Where I live, no one is buying it.

We can look to countries where they have taken real action, such as Sweden and the U.K. Sweden has grown its economy by 50% and reduced emissions by 25%. We know the track record is very similar in the U.K. We need bold action.

I remember when Al Gore came to Victoria in 2007. He said that we need bold action. He said it is great that all of us are recycling and riding our bikes and doing all these great things and we can make an impact. However, he said that 90% of it is going to be the corner cutters, big industry, the huge emitters. He said that we need regulations to actually curb their emissions and incentives to help invest in clean energy. He was right. I will give credit to the opposition party in British Columbia, the Liberals. When in government they brought in a carbon tax. Gordon Campbell was with me there, listening to Al Gore, and he agreed with Al Gore that we need leadership. I commend him for that.

We need that kind of leadership right now, but even accelerated more. If we are going to reduce emissions by 45%, we need urgent action. We can do it. We can invest in geothermal and solar and wind, like other countries are, and electrification. I am here with my colleague. We are the only party that has an electrification critic. We can try to create an electrification grid across the country and be energy efficient and help support electric vehicles and moving away from fossil fuels. We need to work with local government and first nations so we can help them accelerate issues.

My friend from Pontiac talked about cycling, and I appreciate his work too on cycling. My bill, Bill C-312, encourages the government to create a plan. We actually need a plan with targets to grow cycling in our country. It is one of the very small initiatives, but 95% of municipalities voted in favour of it, and the Liberal government still has not honoured that commitment. Municipalities are just asking for a simple strategy and some funding so they can actually target something that they can help with. We know there are many different ways to address this issue, but really it comes down to urgency and taking action.

I was fortunate to have constituents of mine send me messages. On Friday, I was doing business walks in my community. I met Tyler Cody, who owns Osprey Electric. He is a contractor who specializes in solar and energy efficient technologies. He really wants to contribute. He knows that if people have an incentive, they will purchase solar energy. A small incentive will accelerate things a hundredfold if we can get some incentives out to individual homeowners who want to participate and want to join in this fight to tackle climate change. His manager sent me a note saying, “Canada is one of the only advanced countries where the federal government offers no incentives for renewable energy implementation at either the commercial or residential level. This means no programs providing low-rate or zero-rate interest loans, no tax rebates or tax credits. Business and homeowners who want to adapt are on their own. It's a bit embarrassing, really.” He is saying that a little bit of help would go a long way.

John Standen sent me a note on Facebook saying that we need to mobilize, that people are at risk now, not 20 years from now. He wants us to get started. He does not want us to waste any more time.

Claire Schuman from Parksville said that policies are not helpful if they are not put into action. She said that instead of focusing on the pipeline that was bought, immediate attention must be paid to reducing our carbon footprint, and no more waiting.

That is what people in my community are asking for. That is what first nations are asking for. They are asking for the government to be bold, to be courageous, to not wait. That is why we are having this emergency debate. I hope that the government, in the coming days before the big meeting in December, will come forward with bold proposals, accelerate its plan and come back with some clear targets that are measurable, because we need to take this seriously. It is for our children and the future of our planet and our ecosystem. We have everything at stake.

CyclingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 19th, 2018 / 10:10 a.m.
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Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise again and table a petition in support of Bill C-312, an act to establish a national cycling strategy. My constituents have asked that I table this petition today. It is especially timely because we have recently lost lives as a result of undue safe cycling in our major city centres.

National cycling strategies have been implemented in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Australia and have made a huge difference with respect to safe cycling. They have saved lives and improved the health of their citizens. Infrastructure costs and greenhouse gas emissions have been lowered. They also have relieved congestion.

My bill has been supported by communities like Port Alberni and Courtenay in my riding, but also by the cities of Victoria and Toronto. The mayor of Ottawa just endorsed the bill, and FCM just supported an active transportation strategy, with the support of over 95% of its members.

The petitioners call on the government to urgently implement a national cycling strategy.

CyclingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

March 29th, 2018 / 12:20 p.m.
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Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a huge honour to rise today to table an e-petition, e-1344, which has 4,247 signatories, in support of my bill, Bill C-312, to create a national cycling strategy. With soaring infrastructure and health care costs, increased amounts of air contaminants and greenhouse gas emissions, and traffic congestion, the petitioners are calling on the government to create a strategy that would set clear targets so we can become a cycling nation.

Most importantly, in the 2016 ParticipACTION report card on physical activity for children, we had a grade of F. In Canada, only two per cent of children are riding their bikes to school. In Germany it is 15%, in Sweden 20%, in Denmark 40%, and in the Netherlands 50%. We can get there if we create a plan and set clear targets. We can be a cycling nation.

Federal Framework on Distracted Driving ActPrivate Members' Business

March 20th, 2018 / 6:05 p.m.
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Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise tonight to speak to Bill C-373, an act respecting a federal framework on distracted driving. I want to thank the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley for tabling the bill. I sit with the member on the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. It is obviously a personal issue for him and I applaud him for taking action to solve a very preventable issue.

For our part, New Democrats support improving vehicle and road safety, and we understand and sympathize with the pain experienced by the families and friends of victims of distracted driving. We urge the federal government to provide better oversight of vehicle safety.

Indeed, the occurrence of distracted driving in our communities should be of concern to everyone. Distracted drivers not only put their own lives at risk, but also those of their passengers, other drivers and their passengers, as well as pedestrians and cyclists, among others.

I share the member's goal of making our streets safer. I sponsored Bill C-312, which would create a national cycling strategy. It is not that different from this piece of legislation. It seeks to make our roads safer for cyclists among other provisions, including side guards on trucks. We know that all users of the road need to work closely together to create more safe cycling. I mention this fact to highlight for the member that I share his commitment to make our streets and communities safer.

On Vancouver Island, where I am from, distracted driving is a huge concern in every neighbourhood and every community. Vancouver Island is no exception. In a story published just yesterday, the Parksville Qualicum Beach News reported on a crackdown on distracted driving by the RCMP in Oceanside. In that story, some statistics from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia were presented.

ICBC found that distracted driving is responsible for more than one-quarter of all car crash fatalities in British Columbia. Distracted driving is the second leading contributor of car crash fatalities in B.C. and results in 78 deaths each year, on average. Distracted driving has moved ahead of impaired driving-related fatal crashes. On average, 89 deaths occur in speed-related crashes and 66 in impaired-related crashes. Every year, on average, nine people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island. All of them could be avoided.

In another story, the Comox Valley Record reported on March 2 that the Province of B.C. and ICBC are rolling out tougher penalties for distracted drivers beginning this month. We are grateful for that. For Vancouver Island residents, it is both timely and important that we are debating this bill today to coincide with those actions.

Bill C-373 would enable the Department of Justice and Department of Transport to develop a federal framework to deter and prevent distracted driving. More specifically, the Minister of Justice would work with the Minister of Transport and provincial governments to establish a federal framework to coordinate efforts in the provinces to deter and prevent distracted driving, especially the use of telephones while driving.

The framework prescribed in Bill C-373 must cover all of the following elements: the collection of information and statistics relating to incidents that occur as a result of distracted driving involving the use of handheld electronic devices; the administration and enforcement of laws respecting such distracted driving; the creation and implementation of public education programs to deter distracted driving; the role of driver-assisted technology in reducing the number of incidents that occur as a result of distracted driving; the sharing among the provinces of best practices regarding deterrence and prevention; and recommendations regarding possible amendments to federal laws, policies, and programs.

It is difficult to oppose the idea of increased road safety and the reduction of distracted driving, but I do have some real concerns about this piece of legislation. While the bill is not fundamentally detrimental to road safety, there are at least three main concerns that my New Democrat colleagues and I have about the bill.

We have concerns related to federalism and jurisdictional matters between the federal and provincial governments. As well, we are concerned that such co-operation could be redundant given the significant level of co-operation currently between the federal and provincial governments through their road safety strategy 2025. Finally, we are concerned that Transport Canada is already seriously deficient in the management of vehicle safety standards and that the bill, if passed, could increase this deficiency.

With regard to our jurisdictional concerns in Canada, road safety is a shared responsibility of the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments. Distracted driving, such as driving while using a cellphone, is considered a regulatory offence in the provinces and territories. Therefore, depending on the circumstances, distracted driving can also be deemed a criminal offence under section 249 of the Criminal Code if the court is convinced that an individual was driving in a manner that is dangerous to the public. As such, it is the provinces and territories that are primarily responsible for road safety legislation. New Democrats believe that they are best placed to identify priorities in this area.

On the possible redundancy, we must be reminded again that the existing goal of the road safety strategy 2025 is to standardize the improvement process across the country using best practices for specific issues. The main ones are as follows: raising public awareness and commitment to road safety; improving communication, co-operation, and collaboration among stakeholders; enhancing legislation and enforcement; improving road safety information in support of research and evaluation; improving the safety of vehicles and road infrastructure; and leveraging technology and innovation.

While the road safety strategy 2025 and Bill C-373 use different language and their scope is somewhat different, when looking at their provisions together, it is hard to imagine that the objectives of the latter would not find a good home within the work of the federal and provincial governments as they implement the former.

On our concern about the capacity of Transport Canada to effectively implement new policies, indeed Transport Canada is struggling mightily to address the concerns raised by the Auditor General in his report entitled “Oversight of Passenger Vehicle Safety”. In that report, the Auditor General stated, “We found that the absence of long-term operational planning led to several decisions that affected research activities and other operations. [...] We also found that the operating budget for crashworthiness testing was cut by 59 percent for the 2016–17 fiscal year, from $1.2 million to $492,000.”

Since Transport Canada is already failing to show the leadership that we are calling for, in terms of cutting funding for existing safety programs, we have to wonder if it makes sense to further burden this department with additional new responsibilities.

Those are our concerns, and I would hope that they are addressed in a meaningful way when this bill reaches committee.

In closing, I want to thank the member again for tabling this proposed legislation. It is greatly appreciated. I want to reiterate that my New Democrat colleagues and I share his concern for making our streets and communities safer. In spite of some flaws, which I hope can be addressed in committee, I offer him my support for Bill C-373 at second reading. Again, it is an honour and pleasure to rise today in support of this bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:55 p.m.
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Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about my journey this summer through my riding. It is very relevant to the budget implementation act tabled today and to what is not in the budget.

This summer I travelled my riding. It is 8,500 square kilometres. I did it by bicycle and by boat. People in my riding travelled with me, seniors, young people, leaders, chiefs, mayors, councillors. They rode with me from community to community. They came out to share what was important to them.

The reason I also did it by bicycle was because I tabled Bill C-312, an act to establish a national cycling strategy, on October 4, 2016. Members are probably wondering what the benefits are of a national cycling strategy and what that would do for Canadians.

The national cycling strategy would commit the federal government to set clear targets for the expansion of cycling-friendly infrastructure; encourage more Canadians to choose cycling as their mode of transportation; improve national safety standard measures such as side guard rails for trucks, support cycle tourism in Canada, which is one of the fastest-growing areas of tourism in the world; and increase education for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.

Why is a national cycling strategy important? We need to take small steps and a multi-faceted approach to tackle the great challenges we face with soaring health care and infrastructure costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and traffic congestion. Cycling is a sustainable transportation solution that is low cost, environmentally friendly, and encourages healthy living.

Therefore, Bill C-312 is a multi-faceted proposal to develop cycling options across our country. It addresses the social, economic, and environmental issues facing Canada today. It provides a plan for cycling infrastructure and education. It makes dollars and cents. With the rising costs of housing, gas and groceries, just to name a few, life is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many Canadians. Cycling is a sustainable solution offering to transportation, and we can make that happen. Therefore, we need to do more to make Canada a cycling nation.

I want to talk about a study that was recently done in Denmark. It shows that for every kilometre cycled, society enjoys a net profit of 23¢, whereas for every kilometre driven by car, it suffers a net loss of 16¢.

When I learned more about cycling in our country, what alarmed me was that in the Netherlands 50% of children would ride their bike to school. In Denmark, it is 40%. In Germany, it is 15%. In Sweden, it is 20%. In Canada, it is 2%. That is not because we live in this big, vast country, which one would think is the reason why. It is because 82% of Canadians live in an urban environment. In fact, 35% of Canadians live in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal alone. It is not because of our climate, because there is only a 1° difference between Stockholm and Toronto. It is because we have not made it a priority, set clear targets or made a commitment.

Let us look at the costs associated with health. I will give an example.

Heart disease in Canada costs us $12 billion a year. A recent study done in Denmark shows that the people who ride their bikes to work reduce their risk of heart disease by 40%. Imagine finding a pill that could reduce costs from $12 billion to $8 billion just by simply taking it. That is cycling. We need to set clear targets. We need to create a marketing and education approach to get more people on bikes and bring all users of the road together.

As a former municipal councillor, I know this. If the federal government puts a dollar on the table designated specifically for active transportation, for cycling, we know the province will not leave a dollar on the table. We know a municipal government will not leave $2 on the table. We know a local community group will not leave $3 on the table.

This is supported by many groups. The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment has endorsed the need for a national cycling strategy as has Canada Bikes. The City of Toronto recently wrote a letter of support for Bill C-312 and the need for a national cycling strategy. In my riding, Port Alberni and Cumberland have also committed to that.

There was nothing in this bill that was specifically designated in the last budget, and the budget before, for cycling in Canada. Therefore, we need to do more.

I started my journey on August 22 in Hesquiaht, which is about two and a half hours north by boat from Tofino. I was the first MP in the history of our country to show up in Hesquiaht. I was received very well. I went with Chief Lucas. The people talked about the importance of conservation on their herring, the reality of low-income assistance rates, the high cost of transportation, and the complicated failure of our government to respect their rights by the Supreme Court to catch and sell fish.

We went to Hot Springs Cove after that, and we heard the same thing. Then we went to Ahousaht. We met with Chief Louie and his council. We heard from them about--

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour today to rise to speak on Bill C-63, which would amend the Budget Implementation Act.

Before I get started, I want to give a quick shout-out to my mother. It is her 70th birthday and I am far from home. I say, “Thanks, mom”.

A year ago, I tabled a bill, Bill C-312, for a national cycling strategy. In our country, we have seen soaring health care and infrastructure costs and we need to address our greenhouse gases. In the spirit of Bill C-312, I biked across my riding this summer. My riding is 8,500 square kilometres that consists of 10 nations, seven municipalities, and three regional districts. I had an opportunity to engage people in communities. I visited over 28 communities and had over 20 town halls. My speech today is really a reflection of what people wanted to see in the budget, what they want to see happen in their communities, and what they did not see.

The government likes to talk about a robust economy, job creation, and a growing economy, but that is not being seen in my riding of Courtenay—Alberni. In fact, it is the opposite. Raw log exports have gone up tenfold in 10 years in the Alberni Valley, for example. Port Alberni has been identified as the city in British Columbia with the highest poverty rate. A third of children are living in poverty.

My riding needs a marine economy that works for it. We need to rehabilitate the sockeye salmon fishery. It was in a critical stage last summer and the decline of the stock has cost the local economy millions of dollars, but the multiplier effect is in the tens of millions of dollars. We need urgent investments in stock enhancement, rehabilitation, and salmon protection. The government likes to tout its oceans protection plan, but in its coastal restoration fund, it forgot places like the Somass River, which is critical for the sockeye in British Columbia. It is the third-highest returning river basin in coastal British Columbia.

There are great opportunities to create jobs in the port, which is the only deep-sea port on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The Port Alberni Port Authority has put forward some excellent projects that we hope the government will consider. They would create thousands of jobs in my riding. This is a place that had the highest median income in Canada in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and now has one of the lowest median incomes in Canada. The people of the Alberni Valley sent buckets of money to Ottawa when times were good. They are hoping they will get the same return, and they are not seeing that when they need it the most.

There are excellent opportunities in the aerospace sector. In my riding, there is a global leader, Coulson Aviation, which is selling firefighting expertise and technology around the world. It is that Canadian story, where it is not doing business here in Canada because of regulation and because the government is not doing local procurement. We need government to act on opportunities within our communities.

My riding has a great university, the Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences, which is helping to unlock the potential of the 1.2 million Canadians who are out of work or injured in the workplace. We need to make this a priority. This would grow the GDP in our country, help empower people, give people hope who need it the most, and get workers back to work who have been injured in the workplace.

Seniors in my riding and across the country are demanding support for pharmacare, health care, affordable housing, and home care. My riding has an aging population, one of the highest median ages in the country. It is an urgent situation and we need support for initiatives and these important needs. Affordable housing is a huge issue in my riding as well. The spillover from Vancouver is going to Vancouver Island, Victoria, and Nanaimo. It is now going to rural communities, where housing affordability is becoming the biggest issue. The government made an announcement that it is investing $11.2 billion over 10 years in affordable housing, but when we look at it closely, it is $20 million in the first year and $300 million by the next election. That is giving people false hope about the government's real commitment and real change to grow the middle class and help those who are not in it. This is urgent.

There are situations that are of serious and immediate concern. We have an opioid crisis, a fentanyl crisis, that is impacting our communities. In Port Alberni, for example, the Port Alberni Shelter Society, which is a group of people who are relying on local funds to open an overdose protection centre, needs urgent funds from Ottawa to keep that going. It is calling upon Ottawa to make sure this is identified as a national health emergency so that we can help combat that crisis.

We have great people in our communities who are working with people on the street. I have cited case studies here in the House about the cost-effectiveness of putting a roof over someone's head versus having someone live on the street. We know it makes sense.

People are concerned in my riding. They are concerned about the economy. They are concerned about social development and infrastructure. They are concerned about climate change. Floods, forest fires, storms, and seasonal changes are having a significant impact on our environment and our economy.

One thing that I noted on my journey, when going to the remote indigenous communities in my riding, was the people who are earning $235 a month on income assistance in rural communities with 70% unemployment. That is unacceptable. In many of these communities, people have to travel to the grocery store, which is 45 minutes to an hour and a half away. Therefore, for people living in Hesquiat, it is $50 each way to go to the grocery store just to buy groceries. That leaves them $135 to get by on for clothing, medicine, and to survive. This is taking place here in Canada.

Fortunately, on October 1, John Horgan and the B.C. provincial government implemented an increase of $100. However, people are still left with $335 to pay for the water taxi to get to the grocery store, and we know they are not buying fresh food because they cannot afford it. This is at the same time that the Nuu-chah-nulth communities have been in court for over a decade. They had won their court case for the right to catch and sell fish, but the Government of Canada appealed that decision. It appealed that decision twice, not once, and twice it was thrown out by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Instead of doing what it promised to do, which was to work on a nation-to-nation basis, it appealed and fought first nations in court. This is the same government that says that its most important relationship is with indigenous people, yet it is fighting them in court.

People earning $335 a month are not looking for a handout, they are looking to do business with Canada and be a partner in Canada. That is the word from my friend Curtis Dick. My friend Ken Watts quoted his father the late George Watts, who said that they are just looking for “their rightful place in this country”. These are communities that cannot access the fish that are swimming right by their villages. They can be part of this great story of Canada. They just want to feed their families. They want to grow an economy that works for everybody, and be a partner in this nation. They run on the principles of isaak, and that is respect. That is how they have approached Canada.

Canada needs to come back to the nations with the same respect. They need to get to the negotiating table and invest money. However, in this budget there is no money to give back to the nations. They have spent $12 million instead of investing in programs because their food, economic security, and rights are a priority for them. Why will the government not, as an urgent priority, at least get the money they have spent in court back to the nations and stop spending taxpayers' money? Canada must have spent tens of millions of dollars fighting the very people with whom it says it has its most important relationship. As a priority and a way of life, the people of Nuu-chah-nulth live by “hishuk ish tsawalk”, which means “everything is one”. In their traditional territories, which they call their ha-houlthee, they treat everyone as one, and everything is interconnected. When the Leviathan II went down, these same people were pulling $5 and $10 out of their jars to buy gas to go and look for people from another country who were missing, because we are all interconnected.

It is time for Canada to do the right thing, to invest in ending poverty in these nations, and end these discriminatory policies of the past. I hope the government is listening today.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 2nd, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to sit with the member for Toronto—Danforth on the all-party cycling caucus. She joins me in understanding that we have soaring health care costs, soaring greenhouse gas emissions that we have to deal with, and infrastructure costs.

We have talked about cycling as being a part of the solution. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change has acknowledged that we need a plan like other countries such as Norway, Sweden, and Germany. They have accelerated people riding bikes and lowering their impact. They have set clear targets so that they can lower emissions. This has been supported by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, by Canada Bikes, and even by the member's own city. The City of Toronto endorsed my bill, Bill C-312, for the call for a national cycling strategy.

Does the member support a national cycling strategy? If so, will the government move forward with supporting my bill and move forward so that we can take on the greatest challenge of our time and that is lowering our impact on the environment and of course at the same time lowering our health care and infrastructure costs?

National Cycling Strategy ActRoutine Proceedings

October 4th, 2016 / 10:05 a.m.
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Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-312, An Act to establish a national cycling strategy.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce a private member's bill to establish a Canadian cycling strategy. We need to do more to make Canada a cycling nation. This act would commit the federal government to setting clear targets for the expansion of cycling-friendly infrastructure and would encourage more Canadians to choose cycling as their mode of transportation.

Canada is facing many challenges, including soaring health care and infrastructure costs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and traffic congestion. Cycling is a sustainable transportation solution. It is low cost, environmentally friendly, eliminates pollution, can be done anywhere in any weather and by any person, and it is healthy.

Cycling advocates have long called for a national cycling strategy where the federal government would work with the provinces and municipalities to increase commuter recreation and tourism cycling across Canada. My bill is for all Canadians, regardless of age, ability, gender, economic status, or location. Together we can make Canada a cycling nation.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)