Mr. Speaker, those who are listening to this debate may be surprised to see the government doubting the research, the evidence, and the very credible voices speaking out in favour of side guards. It is just as it was when the members of the current government denied the existence of climate change for many years, and have only recently awakened to that fact. This is a government that does not like evidence and hard facts. The way the Conservatives have spun their opposition to this balanced and reasoned private member's bill by my friend, the member of Parliament for Brossard—La Prairie, is to say that there is emerging technology that might be better. Therefore, they will not save lives now but rather wait for research to happen with respect to emerging technologies and groovy new mirrorless transportation systems.
It is the role of those of us in this place as parliamentarians to protect the lives of Canadians. When we come across a simple solution that would save some lives, the government refers it to the municipalities. It beats up the municipalities and hectors the provinces instead of standing up and taking responsibility for the areas it has responsibility for. That is one of the reasons this bill is so important and the government's opposition to it is so incredibly galling.
I am a little emotional about this because Jenna Morrison was killed in November of 2011 when she was pulled under a heavy truck on the border between my riding and the riding of Parkdale—High Park. She was killed at a turn that I often make on my bicycle. Jenna Morrison was the exact same age as my own wife, who just had a child a month ago. As we all know, Jenna Morrison was also with child at the time she was killed. For me it is also a very real reminder that we have cyclists and heavy trucks sharing the road.
It is true that we need better, stronger and more comprehensive transportation throughways for cyclists. I will remind those listening that many members of the government are quite friendly with the former mayor of Toronto who spent $300,000 in taxpayer dollars to paint over a bicycle lane after he announced that the war on the car was over. Apparently there was a war but no one knew it. What I am getting at here is that the government cannot help but play politics with even the most simple solutions to some very important problems.
When I think about Jenna Morrison's young son and her partner whom she left behind and the way in which their lives have been turned upside down, and others' lives too right across the country, I think it is incumbent on us to take the matter seriously and not to try to dodge the issue. We know that side guards are mandatory on many heavy trucks in the United Kingdom. Japan and the European Union are other examples. It is not as though this was an idea that came out of the ether. This is something that we know works. Instead, the government is saying that we should find some other technology. Maybe we need to check the logs of the lobby registry to see how often the trucking industry has lobbied the government to oppose this bill. In cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, St. John's, and Halifax, in fact in cities right across the country, we have built roads for cars but we have more and more cyclists on the roads.
We absolutely need to deal with that change in road use. We have had a colossal battle over the last several years in Toronto to start to deal with it. They are complex issues and they are going to take a significant amount of political will.
However, I want to ask the members opposite how much political will we need to require mandatory side guards. It amazes me that we could not have all party support for the bill. I listened very carefully to the members opposite who said there were only a couple of deaths in the country, so it is not that big a deal. I think most members here would agree that if we in this place can save even one life by implementing safeguards and standards that are not going to cost the treasury a dime, it is incumbent upon us to take the issue seriously and pass this piece of legislation.
I would like to congratulate my hon. friend for tabling a bill that was initially put forward by our good friend Olivia Chow. I am honoured to stand here on behalf of the good people in the riding of Davenport, in the great city of Toronto, to support the bill.