No shortage of opportunities to get involved in politics these days. The provincial leadership races are almost over, only the BC Conservatives still need to pick a leader. There will be a by-election in Point Grey soon and municipal elections in the fall. More about these in future posts.
Today’s topic is the Federal Election on May 2. Unfortunately, we are not very organized at the national level yet, although the BCCC is working with other cycling groups across Canada to remedy this situation. Thus, it is not particularly surprising that the platforms of the Liberal and Conservative parties do not mention cycling.
Still, elections are great opportunities to talk to politicians about cycling or even get to know them and their supporters better by helping them out by volunteering on their campaigns.
Ways that the federal government could encourage cycling include:
- The development of a National Cycling Strategy
- Federal funding for cycling infrastructure, education and promotion. For infrastructure, $20 per person per year matched by the provinces would be a great start bring Canada up to the level of the Netherlands.
- Ensure that all road, bridge, transit and rail projects that receive federal funding have high-quality bicycle facilities
- Regulations streamlining the process for implementing bicycle paths next to active rail lines
- Regulations that require abandoned rail lines to be retained in perpetuity for use as bicycle trails.
- Tax rebate for companies who provide facilities for commuter cycling
- Safety standards for motor vehicles to reduce collisions with bicycles and to reduce the severity of injuries to cyclists
- National standards for electric bicycles
- Researching and promoting best practices
- Developing and promoting cycling tourism in Canada
The benefits of cycling and the BCCC’s recommendations are detailed in Realizing the Benefits of Accelerated Investment in Cycling and summarized in Investing in a Healthy Future. While these documents are focused on BC, much of the information is relevant at the national level as well.
Their web sites are great places to find out more about their platforms, how to get involved and who your local candidates are.
Vote and encourage your friends to vote.
Make sure you are registered to vote. More at Elections Canada.
While we unfortunately do not have the resources to survey the parties regarding their positions on cycling, we will post any information we receive on their cycling policies.
Other ways to support a National Cycling Strategy include:
- Joining the Facebook group Support National Strategies for Transit, Cycling and Walking
- Voting to Develop a National Cycling Strategy as part of the government’s National Dialog on Healthy Weights
Last of all, it is always a good idea to write letters.
Right Hon. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Hon. Michael Ignatieff
Leader of the Liberal Party
Hon. Jack Layton
Leader of the New Democratic Party
chef du Bloc Québécois
Leader of the Green Party
Your MP can be found at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/house/PostalCode.asp?Language=E