Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and yet somewhat disappointed to be speaking today.
I am pleased because this is a private member's bill. When it was my turn to decide which bill I would introduce, I asked myself what change we could actually make. Clearly, we are talking about a bill that can save lives.
I listened closely to all of the speeches. I would like to thank my colleagues on this side of the House, both the Liberals and the NDP. They gave speeches that really touched me, that got to the heart of the matter and that expressed much of what I was feeling.
I am disappointed today because I also listened to the Conservative government during the first hour of debate. From the outset, the government opposed the bill. I found it unfortunate and difficult to witness such an ideological attitude. However, this is not just about ideology. The members are being whipped by their government and cabinet, which are telling them to vote a certain way and spout the same lines. Everything I heard from the other side was the same.
If the members truly believe that they are lacking information, they should support the bill at second reading and we will study it in committee. We will look at the facts.
According to them, the studies are inconclusive. I plead with my colleagues opposite to actually read some of the reports.
There is one report that came from the chief coroner of Ontario. It is dated June 2012, so it is a new report that came out not too long ago. It looked at what happened between January 2006 and December 31, 2010. It looked at the fatalities. It looked at the accidents involving trucks and cyclists. The recommendation that came from the coroner is outlined in number 13. It is a recommendation to Transport Canada that states, “Side-guards should be made mandatory for heavy trucks in Canada.”
Therefore, if my colleagues do not want to listen to us in the opposition and are saying the studies are not conclusive, they should at least look at the reports that came from the coroner. If they believe that what we have here is not sufficient, let us study it at committee. Let us look at what we have in terms of reports and studies and let us make a decision.
I urge my colleagues to vote in favour of the bill at second reading. Then, if they are not satisfied with what we do at committee, that is fine.
In Europe, vehicle side guards have been mandatory for the past 25 years. They are mandatory in Japan and Great Britain. In Canada, there have been so many deaths that I cannot name all the victims. One death in particular had a real impact on me because I met the victim's mother. Jessica was killed by a vehicle. She wanted to save her brother and she fell under the vehicle.
Westmount, the City of Montreal and Ville Saint-Laurent reacted by equipping their vehicles with side guards. If anyone thinks that the municipalities are wasting their money, they can think again. The government is saying that the municipalities and the provinces can make other regulations themselves. That is true, but we also have a responsibility. We must show leadership.
All my colleagues were going to vote against the bill at second reading. We should ask ourselves next time when there is a death. It happened two weeks ago. There was a death in Montreal, and the first thing that was said was that maybe sideguards would have saved the person.
When Mathilde Blais was killed earlier this year, we said that maybe side guards would have saved her. What did the coroner report say? It said they could have saved her. Please think about it next time.