National Cycling Strategy Act

An Act to establish a national cycling strategy

Sponsor

Gord Johns  NDP

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

Status

Introduced, as of Oct. 4, 2016

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-312.

Summary

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.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

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.
See context

NDP

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.
See context

NDP

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.
See context

NDP

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)