OTTAWA – On the eve of the vote, New Democrat MP for Laurier – Sainte-Marie, Hélène Laverdière, is still wondering if the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, supports her Private Member’s Bill to give him the necessary powers to ensure the mobility and safety of citizens throughout the country.

“Currently the Railway Safety Act gives the Minister the power to close or modify a railway crossing, but the law is not clear with respect to his powers to establish new ones,” said Hélène Laverdière. “I have asked the Minister repeatedly if he intends to support an initiative that will allow him to ensure the safety of citizens.”

Everyday, thousands of cyclists and pedestrians cross over railway tracks in unsafe ways in order to avoid unreadable detours. When railways cut neighbourhoods in half and citizens are forced to make unreasonably long detours, they often decide to cross over railway tracks. Statistics show that there are twice as many fatal accidents at so-called illegal crossings than at level crossings in Canada. Canadians have been asking for safe crossings for years.

“We have heard different interpretations from the government on this issue,” added Ms. Laverdière. “But I can't understand why the Minister would not want to support an initiative that allow him to ensure the safety of thousands of people who cross railway tracks.”