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.