Government of Canada launches school bus seatbelt pilots in the District of Sudbury, Ontario and British Columbia

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Together with Gary Lillico of Canadians Parents for Mandatory Seatbelts I have been urging Transport Minister Marc Garneau to introduce legislation to require seatbelts on school buses across Canada. The evidence is compelling. Injuries can be reduced and lives can be saved. While this week's announced pilot project is a significant step forward I encourage you to contact your Member of Parliament as well as Transport Minister Marc Garneau and make your voice heard.

TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2020 /CNW/ – The safety of Canada’s road users is a priority for federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and that starts with the safe transportation of our school children.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced that the Government of Canada is launching a pilot project introducing seatbelts in some school buses with the District of Sudbury, Ontario, and at a second location in British Columbia, which will be announced at a later date.

The pilot projects will involve a limited number of new school buses, equipped with three-point seatbelts that follow the latest federal safety standards.

School buses are the safest way to transport an estimated 2.2 million Canadian children to school. Recognizing that seatbelts can provide an additional layer of safety in rare, but severe school bus collisions, these pilots are an important step in examining the optimal and most efficient use of this safety feature in Canada.

The Sudbury Student Services Consortium as well as British Columbia expressed interest in this pilot. The Government of Canada is also open to partnering with other governments or jurisdictions who would be willing to step up and participate in a pilot.

The need for pilot projects stems from the report of the Task Force on School Bus Safety, Strengthening School Bus Safety in Canada, which explains the considerations associated with installing and using seatbelts on school buses, such as proper seatbelt adjustments for children.


“The Government of Canada is pleased to collaborate with the Government of British Columbia and with Ontario’s Sudbury Student Services Consortium on these important pilot projects involving seatbelts on school buses. School buses continue to be the safest means of transporting children to and from school in Canada, but if there is an opportunity for improvement, we will explore all options as we continue to study and analyse the potential use of seatbelts on school buses. These pilots are an important element of our collective efforts to further strengthen school bus safety in Canada, and we look forward to the findings.”

– Minister of Transportthe Honourable Marc Garneau

“The Province of B.C. looks forward to working with Transport Canada to identify how jurisdictions can strengthen and improve safety in and around school buses. Participation in this pilot project will provide important information that will help guide decisions on school bus safety.”

– Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Honourable Claire Trevena
Government of British Columbia

“The Sudbury Student Services Consortium is thrilled to be working in partnership with Transport Canada on this very exciting project to support school bus safety. We are looking forward to working with our local school boards, school bus operators, students, and parents on this very important initiative.”

– Renée Boucher, Executive Director, Sudbury Student Services Consortium

Quick Facts

  • Each day, Canadian children travel to and from school every day on 51,670 school buses.
  • In July 2018, Transport Canada published new requirements to support the voluntary installation of three-point seatbelts on school buses.
  • In January 2019, the federal, provincial, territorial Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety established a special Task Force to carefully examine the issue of school bus safety, both inside and outside the bus, with an emphasis on seatbelts.

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Rosie to the rescue


Eufy 11S Max

Our first robot vacuum, so we named her Rosie! (Last name: Jetson, of course). But seriously, the Eufy 11s Max was highly rated by Consumer Report and provided the best value and quality for the lowest price. At CAD$269 it was a relatively low price entry into this market. Sure there are cheaper robots but none of those were recommended by CR. There are definitely more expensive ones but do you really need all those bells and whistles?

Rosie was simple to set up and ran for 90 minutes before finding her way back to the charging base. And her dirt cup runneth over. I sent her out a few more times and she picked up dirt that I didn’t know was there! She easily rolled under beds, traveled along the walls and went behind couches and TVs. She returned to base every time. A couple of times she kept nudging the base away without mounting it for charging so I taped it to the floor and no more problem.

It’s fun to use and I haven’t had to vacuum in four weeks since I set her up. Great on hardwood floors and pretty good on carpet. You must tie up loose wires and pick up clutter so she doesn’t get stuck. The 30 minute quick feature is good, the circular motion for one room is great and the wall-hugger mode is pretty impressive too. If you can get it for less than what I paid on Boxing Day grab it and you can be a couch potato while she does all the vacuuming!

Farewell Isadore

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Isadore Goldberg was a quiet, unassuming man of conviction. He lead a purposeful and deliberate life of service. Service to his country, service to his customers in his furniture business, and service to his constituents and city.

Isadore borrowed a line from Mark Twain in saying that, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” when in 2015 the TD Bank summarily informed him that he was, well, deceased. The story made Canada-wide news in The National Post. He had a good sense of humour too.

Isadore Goldberg, front and centre (with his walker) along with fellow veterans, politicians, clergy and officials on Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, 2019

Isadore was proud of his military service and displayed his WWII medals at VE Day and Remembrance Day in Cote Saint-Luc.

It is with sadness that we say goodbye to Isadore Goldberg.

Isadore and I served together on City Council from 1990 to 2001. He was always at every city function, meeting residents, conversing with people, representing our city. He was recognized and known by politicians across the region and at all levels, always on a first name basis. He was also the gentle King of MacDonald, meeting neighbours, trying to solve their problems. He was a city icon.

May he be remembered as a dedicated civic leader who always fought for his constituents and for the good of Cote Saint-Luc.


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Book review: I Wanted Fries With That, How to ask for what you want and get what you need

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“Chief Complaints Officer” Amy Fish has channeled her many years of experience as an ombudsman into authoring her new book, I Wanted Fries With That, How to ask for what you want and get what you need, published by New World Library.

Fish begins her book with the prophetic words, “You need to have the courage to live life. This includes learning to ask for what you need or want.” She notes that at a formative part of her life, these lessons struck a profound chord with her:

  • Speaking up and asking for what you need is harder than you think.
  • If you don’t ask for what you want, you will not get what you need.
  • If you expect someone else to get you what you want, you may end up waiting a very long time.

The book is conveniently split into three parts:

  1. I want my problem solved
  2. I want you to change
  3. I want justice to be served

It is a lively and animated book complete with personal stories and reflections on life that Fish has recounted from her upbringing, family and friends. “People who are calm, who speak clearly, and who – well, you’ll see the rest – are better able to communicate and therefore have a better track record in getting what they want and need,” Fish writes.

With a pronounced sense of humour and stories to fill an entire book, Fish sets out on a journey to teach her readers and to do so with a sense of purpose in order to almost always get positive results. “In  my opinion, many of us don’t ask for what we want because we don’t know how to do it gently and calmly, and still achieve the desired results,” Fish teaches us. “Standing up for yourself doesn’t mean being a rude tyrant. There’s definitely a happy medium between aggressiveness and assertiveness.”

There is a basic premise in “I Wanted Fries with That” that says everyone is operating in good faith and that all we have to do to get something corrected is to point it out. This is a good lesson since when we feel we have been wronged, many of us have neither the patience nor the inclination to take corrective measures in a calm manner. It’s far easier to whine aloud and dump on products and people on social media than it is to strategically seek out the right person who may be in a position to help. Fish guides us to take the time to have a respectful and meaningfully persuasive conversation.

Fish shows us how to give that person the opportunity to be the hero in your story, to help you solve the problem and get you what you want. Her techniques help to build alliances with the person who can solve your problem. This person might be a server at your table, a clerk at a desk or a customer service agent on the phone. All of these people have something we want. “Sometimes all we have to do is let them see that there’s a situation to be corrected and give them the chance to do it on their own.” And not only might you solve your problem, but you can fix it for everyone behind you in line.

Sometimes we won’t get what we want on the first try and that’s when we need to rely on the art of compromise in order to find resolution. If we can’t get what we want, we ask for what we are willing to settle for.

I put Fish’s theory to the test, and after considerable complaining to myself and my wife about a defective zipper on my otherwise very warm, Quebec-made Chloropylle winter coat, I emailed the manufacturer about my problem. I wrote how pleased I am with their products other than my immediate need for a zipper replacement, citing the lifetime warranty and inviting the customer service representative to help solve my problem. While I am disappointed that Chlorophylle won’t stand behind their product and their frivolous lifetime warranty, Fish’s book convinced me not to give up. After the second email I was able to secure the meagre offer of a replacement zipper that I could bring to a local tailor, at my expense. While the free zipper is a partial solution, perhaps, with Fish’s encouragement I’ll take this matter to a higher authority, be it the company president or to the consumer protection office. “If the most direct route doesn’t work,” she says, “try any creative alternative you can think of while remaining calm and polite.”

Although Fish reminds the readers that she is not a lawyer (both her father and sister are), her negotiation skills rival that of many lawyers I know. One could say that many of her techniques of problem solving could be used to solve many personal problems, not just complaints. Perhaps her next book should be a parenting how to!

Amy has written for the Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, and the Globe and Mail. She lives with her family in Montreal. Find out more about her work a

SPVM Stations 9, 11 to merge

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The Suburban has been informed by a well-placed source that the process is underway for SPVM Station 9 in Côte St. Luc and Station 11 in NDG to merge.

From what we have heard so far, the new merged station will be located at Station 9’s current location, at the corner of Westminster and Côte St. Luc Road. Station 9 serves Côte St. Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West.

But we have heard concerns expressed that there will not be a police station situated in NDG for the first time and that there will be less police presence in Côte St. Luc, notwithstanding the station’s planned location.

The Suburban has placed calls to Côte des Neiges-NDG Mayor Sue Montgomery, and the SPVM’s media representatives, and we await their response.

We did speak with Côte St. Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, who told us Monday afternoon that he has not heard of the alleged merger plans.

Brownstein added that it while it would be difficult to make a statement without finding out further details, he did say it would be good news if the alleged merger results in the station remaining in Côte St. Luc, and that he hoped the police presence would not be lessened there.

CSL to be 'at table' for Montreal-CP Cavendish link talks

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Côte St. Luc council passed a resolution at last week’s public meeting ensuring it will have a “seat at the table” in current talks between the City of Montreal and Canadian Pacific regarding the long-awaited Cavendish link between CSL and St. Laurent.

Councillor Dida Berku, who read the resolution, explained that Montreal has been negotiating with CP as to how the planned link will be “routed through the yards,” such as through an underpass, overpass, trench or tunnel.

“These discussions are ongoing, and we have been apprised of many of them, but we wanted to be part of the non-disclosure agreements, that we would be part of the negotiations,” she added. “This resolution allows us to be part of that.”

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said CSL has a very good relationship with CP Rail, which whom he has spoken about the link on many occasions, and with Montreal.

“CP Rail was more than happy to have the City of Côte St. Luc participate in the discussions and negotiations of the exact configuration, and the manner in which our traffic and other types of traffic, like public transit, would be using the Cavendish extension,” he explained. “This file has been going on for a very long time, but it is good to be sitting at the table with all the players, making what appears to be the final decisions with respect to how the road will be built.”

The Mayor emphasized that this new development “doesn’t mean [the link is] being built any time soon — I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up —but at least we’re at the table and moving forward on the file and being informed of what is going on.”

Asked about the reference in the resolution to a non-disclosure agreement, Brownstein told The Suburban it refers to allowing CSL to be at the table for the discussions “without making them public until we all come to an agreement as to the final configuration.

“There are also issues of public transit, will there be a rapid train, a bicycle path, one lane or two lanes for cars? All of these issues have to be agreed upon with respect to CP and Montreal in order to build the road.”

The Suburban pointed out that it appears the discussions of an overpass, underpass or any other type of passage in the yards, has been going on for years.

“There’s also the purchase price — the two things that are not that easy to finalize are the price [of the part of the land Montreal will buy from CP for the passage of the link] and what type of road will go above or below the tracks. They’re really getting close, but they’re not seeing eye-to-eye on the final details,” the Mayor said.

“Now that I’m at the table with them, hopefully, it will be my job to mediate this and finalize the deal. I’ll do my best.”

Berku pointed out that the Cavendish link project also has to go to the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE).

“It will be sent there by the City of Montreal sometime in 2020.”

Brownstein said the project is moving forward.

“I just don’t like people to think it’s going to happen ‘tomorrow’ — it takes a long time, people are frustrated, but it is happening now more than ever because they need it more than we need it. [The planned Royalmount Mall] needs it, the Hippodrome project needs it, the Midtown project, Décarie Square. Everyone wants some other way to travel, which has to include not only cars — public transit, bicycles, pedestrian pathways, and cars.”

CSL WWII vet, 96, to receive National Assembly medal

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CSL WWII vet, 96, to receive National Assembly medal
D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum and World War II veteran George Nashen.
Photo courtesy David Birnbaum’s office

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum will be honouring Côte St. Luc resident George Nashen, 96, with the National Assembly Medal at the annual D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal ceremony June 1, Birnbaum’s office announced.

The MNA’s office stated that Nashen, the father of former CSL councillor Glenn Nashen, will be honoured “in the name of all of those men and women who served the cause of freedom in that most pivotal and tragic conflict of the 20th century.” The medal becomes part of the permanent National Assembly record.

“It struck me at our last Remembrance Day ceremonies in the riding how sadly close we are to a time when no first-hand witnesses to World War II will be with us to remember, or to be honoured for their sacrifice, courage and legacy in saving our fundamental freedoms, here in Quebec, in all of Canada and around the world,” Birnbaum explained. “Furthermore, this riding that I serve is home to one of the highest numbers of Holocaust survivors and their families in Canada. The obligation of remembrance is deeply felt here, and this medal is one further way of expressing that obligation.”

Nashen, a long-time community volunteer and former clothing manufacturer, was a Royal Canadian Air Force Sergeant during World War II.

“I was 19 when I enlisted,” the veteran explained, “and I wasn’t that worldly. I didn’t understand much about politics. By 1938, with the rise of Hitler, the terrible threat to the free world started to become clear. I thought, I have to go over.”

Nashen added that it is important for young people to “learn about the atrocities and the sacrifices of World War II. Do they really know the seriousness of war, the feeling of daily life, when you get issued a helmet and a gas mask to make sure you survive the day?… The freedoms we take for granted today, were in peril back then. That should never be forgotten.”

Nashen stated that while he appreciates the medal recognition,he would “only accept the honour in the name of all of those veterans, still with us and those departed, who served in World War II.”

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