Questioning my candidates
This post has nothing to do with religious schools.
About 2 and a half weeks ago, I sent a letter to each candidate in my riding (Eglinton-Lawrence) to ask for their views on cycling. I thought their responses would be quick and timely, so I could start some discussion here well in advance of the election. I promised the candidates I would share their responses with other cyclists on this web site, hoping other readers might share any experiences with their local candidates.
It took some time, but I got a few responses, albeit not as many as I would have liked. Some of the candidates, despite knocking on my door, didn't respond to my email.
Below the fold (click Read more), you'll find my question to the candidates and the responses I received. Responses are from the Eglinton-Lawrence candidates for: the Liberal Party, the Green Party and the Freedom Party. The candidates that didn't respond were from the Progressive Conservatives, the Family Coalition, the Libertarian Party and the NDP.
My question to them:
Cycling provides many benefits to society in terms of health care,
environmental concerns, community safety and energy efficiency.
Considering cycling is a form of transportation, and transportation is
a provincial matter, what will you and your party do if elected to
improve the situation for cyclists, and encourage more people to ride
bicycles for transportation?
Liberal Response from Mike Colle's campaign office:
The Liberal platform recognizes the environmental and health benefits of
cycling. If re-elected we will exempt new bicycles and helmets from PST.
Page 24 of the platform: "Provide tax incentives to encourage Ontarians to
stay active in their daily lives, including a break on provincial sales tax
on bicycles and bike helmets and tax credits for families
with children enrolled in organized physical activities"
Campaign to Re-Elect Mike Colle
Freedom Party response from candidate Franz Gauchi
I too appreciate the bicycle, having owned many and completing 100+ km
distances in my twenties. The last few times I've put my bike on the road in
Toronto was almost to the point of being dangerous. As a cyclist, especially
in major cities, you need eyes all around your head!
I feel that many major arteries should have been paved allowing 2-3 feet of
space devoted to the bicycle. Given that I'm elected as MPP for
Eglinton-Lawrence, a Freedom Party member, my goal would be to lobby and
help other groups like "ibiketo" lobby the other members of parliament for
devoted bicycle path on road ways. It may also be possible to find,
especially with new road construction a reduction in both sidewalks and
roads to make room for cyclists. Also, one cannot ignore the health benefits
all Canadians can realize with such legislation.
Green Party response from candidate Andrew James
The Green Party position re cycling is exemplified by our leader's decision to bicycle to Guelph for his first major campaign announcement.
As for my take on our platform, encouraging cycling is an integral part of our overall strategy.
The main threats to cyclists are cars and air pollution. I hope I don't have to expound at length as to how serious the Green Party is about minimizing the use of cars and curb air pollution. Onw policy is to redirect 75% of the provincial budget for new road construction into municipal transit systems such as the TTC. We support a carbon tax and other measures designed to discourage automobile use. Our policies will also encourage densification along the subway lines, taking more cars off the roads. Any deal with the City of Toronto to solve its budget crisis will have to require a city-wide commitment to moving away from car culture, and bike lanes on Bloor-Danforth would have to be a component of that.
Personally, in the last municipal election I ran against bike lane public enemy No. 1 (i.e. Case Ootes) as the Green Party supported municipal candidate in Ward 29. I was widely quoted in the local newspapers supporting the bike lane on Cosburn. BTW well-known cycling activist Hamish Wilson also ran against Case, not knowing that the Greens were also going to be fielding a candidate.
I hope this is sufficient to indicate the Green Party's and my strong support for urban bicycling.
Cheers - Andrew
And that's the view on cycling from Eglinton-Lawrence.
It would be great to hear what you've been hearing in your ridings. I chose to keep my question simple and limited to cycling, but issues that are important to cyclists often include transit and smog reduction.
There are only a few days left to remind candidates what it takes to win your vote. Voting day is October 10th, next Wednesday.