Feds must act to require school bus seat belts

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Tens of thousands of school children are riding daily on buses that Transport Canada knows are not safe enough. Despite evidence showing that three point seat belts on school buses prevent or lessen injury and save lives, the government has not taken action to correct this serious situation.

In October 2018 the CBC Fifth Estate investigated the issue and concluded that seatbelts on school buses could have prevented thousands of injuries and numerous deaths.

The report continued with a follow up in December looking a the campaign to make buses safer across Canada by changing outdated legislation.

An online petition is nearing its goal of 50,000 signatures. I have signed and encourage you to do so as well.

More can be done to bring about change.

I call upon my mayor, Mitchell Brownstein, of Cote Saint-Luc, Quebec, to adopt a resolution in support of this urgent legislation at the next public meeting and ask the city to share their resolution with all municipalities across the Montreal region. You can do the same in your city or town anywhere in Canada.

As well, I am fortunate to have one of the most passionate and accessible members of parliament, Anthony Housefather, as my representative. I call upon him to speak with his colleague, Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, who has reportedly called for a report from his department in the past weeks. You too should contact your MP’s office.

Finally, there must also be pressure upon industry itself. To that end I will raise the issue with my kids’ school, where I serve on the Board of Directors. Bus companies that offer seat belts should be hired ahead of those that don’t. Bus companies should know that parents and schools are seeking providers that are proactive and take the necessary measures to keep children safe, even in advance of legislation.

Each of us plays an important role in making school buses safer across Canada.

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CP Rail whistling too loud and too late in St. Luc Yards

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CP Rail locomotive passes Richard Schwartz Park on Cote Saint-Luc Road and prepares to enter the St. Luc Yards

Last week I contacted CP Rail concerning the whistle blowing that has been sounding late at night into the early hours in St. Luc Yards.  With cooler evenings now the norm, bedroom windows are left open and the outdoor noises flow freely inside.

This is hardly the first time complaints have gone from Cote Saint-Luc to CP Rail.  In the past we were advised by CP’s Public Relations team that although whistles used to be the norm to signal from the front of the train to the back, between trains and for emergency situations that two way radios were now used to cut down on whistles in the St. Luc Yards and elsewhere across the country.  Nevertheless, whistles had to be tested periodically.

I asked CP Rail last week to remind the local trainmaster that testing late at night and past midnight in a heavily populated area such as Cote Saint-Luc is very disturbing to our residents.

“Canadian Pacific (CP) takes the safety of the public and its’ employees very seriously. The whistle is a significant safety appliance used as a last warning of an approaching train. We use this even in the yards to warn our employees that a train is on the move,” said the CP representative in an email response.  “”However, I did forward your issue to our Trainmaster in the area and he advised that occasionally we must complete horn testing to ensure compliance with Transport Canada. He will advise crews against testing through the late night hours. There may still be times where you will hear the whistle as a safety precaution.”

If you are experiencing excessive noise from train whistles late at night you can call CP Rail’s Community Connect at 1-800-766-7912 or by email at Community_Connect@cpr.ca.