Saturday, April 23, 2011

Federal election / MR-PM-Mission candidates on cycling

We asked all four candidates for the federal election in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows-Mission riding about about what their party's platform says about cycling and what they plan on doing to improve cycling infrastructure and promotion.

We will be adding their replies to this posting as they come in.

Here's the first reply, from the Green Party candidate, Peter Tam:

"The Green party and I will absolutely support a National cycling strategy. Quoting from our Platform in Transportation Policy

“Support pedestrian, cycle and car-sharing infrastructure in towns and cities”

We support the national cycling strategy per verbatim.

The first thing I would do is to eliminate the HST from the purchase of the bicycle and any accessories relating to the operation and maintenance of the bicycle. At the local district level, I would push for bike lock ups around downtown and shopping area. I will be working with VACC to create events to build awareness and promote cycling locally."

Reply #2, Craig Speirs, NDP:

"I have been an advocate for cycling infrastructure improvements for the past twelve years as part of my municipal work. I was the council liaison to the bike committee many years ago and was convinced of the wisdom of making room on our roads for this healthy form of transportation. When I was first elected cycling infrastructure was at best an afterthought when we planned our roads and now its front of mind for our engineers and planners. I like to think that I had some small influence in this increased awareness. There is much to do but at least its a start.
To me this is also about peak oil and how all communities need to transition out of car dependency. Oil isn't going to get cheaper anytime soon and senior governments need to encourage this transition through legislation and funding targeted to alternatives to the car.
I like your list of things the federal government could do as part of a National Cycling Strategy. I would love to make it one of my "to do" lists. The NDP supports cycling and I would certainly lobby to establish such a strategy if elected."

Reply #3: Mandeep Bhuller, Liberal Party:

"Cycling is an important part of Canadian culture, both for recreation and for transportation. The passion and commitment to cycling by its proponents is an inspiring example of what Canadians can accomplish when we work together.

The Liberal Transportation and Infrastructure plan, mentioned in our Policy Platform, will focus on sound investments that will reduce pollution and ease congestion in our cities. While Cycling is not specifically mentioned in the plan, I can assure you that as a Member of Parliament I will work to ensure that cycling takes its rightful and integral place in our Transportation and Infrastructure program."

If you would like to ask the candidates some questions, there will be an all-candidates debate on Wednesday, April 27, just a few days before the election. Time: 7 - 9 pm. Location: Whonnock Lake Centre, 27871 - 113th Ave. Candidates each will have 5 minutes for a speech, followed by question and answer.

For those who have time during the day, there's another one on Thursday, April 28, at 9:40 am. Location: Thomas Haney Secondary School, 23000 116 Ave.

Update May 1: At the all-candidates meeting on April 27, I had a chance to ask Randy Kamp for his input as to how he thinks he might be able to help cycling in our communities. He said that "I am not able to set policy", and "cycling is not the jurisdiction of the federal government". After the meeting I again asked him to submit his comments for our blog, but there has been no response so far, so I have not been able to find out from him whether or not he is willing to work on funding for cycling projects if he gets re-elected, as well as to set the wheels in motion to help develop a national cycling strategy in co-operation with the provincial governments, which are definitely things that the federal government would be able to commit to.

1 comment:

  1. Not in the least surprised to hear Randy Kamps' comments. Environmental awareness is not part of the conservative mindset. Good to hear positive feedback from the other candidates though.