Support for Cycling in Canada – Leadership Candidate Questionnaire

On March 15, Canada Bikes sent out an emailed questionnaire to all of the candidates running for the leadership of the Conservative and New Democratic Parties of Canada this year. The questions  and the answersare below.

We will be posting all their answers here as they arrive. We look forward to working together to build a bike friendly Canada.

________________

Full text of email*:

Dear Mr./Ms. ______:

We would like to commend you for making the decision to run for public office and would like to help you share your thoughts on cycling. To help us understand your views so we can share with our members and the public, we are asking you to complete the short survey below by March 24th.

Canada Bikes is a national organization that includes 14 member organizations representing thousands of members in Canadian towns, cities and provinces from coast to coast. We want to improve conditions for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who regularly bike to work. We share our vision with tens of millions of concerned adults and teenagers in Canada who do not ride to work but say they would if only they had safe infrastructure. We also represent millions of people of all ages who already ride for exercise or leisure or school and who would like to more often. We also represent those who do not wish to ride bicycles, but want safety for their loved ones. Together, this is the vast majority of Canadians.

We feel everyone should be allowed to experience the joy and benefits of cycling without fear or insurmountable barrier. Canada Bikes wants to support and celebrate politicians who share this vision and we know we can achieve great things for Canada together.

Cycling Questionnaire:

1. If elected leader – and eventually Prime Minister – your vision for cycling in Canada will reverberate across the country. Why do you believe cycling is important for Canada?

2. Do you support the creation of a National Cycling Strategy?

3. If you become Prime Minister, how much do you envision the government of Canada investing annually in cycling infrastructure while you are in office?

4. The overwhelming majority of parents in Canada want better, safer routes to school. Compared to peer countries in Northern Europe, whose national transportation and infrastructure ministries have invested trillions in cycling infrastructure for decades and set meaningful policy to improve land use and reduce traffic violence, Canada has done relatively little. As a direct result, our cycling to school rates remain dismal and young people are unnecessarily being steered toward a life of physical inactivity and chronic disease. Will you commit to Canada becoming a leader in children’s mobility and cycling to school within one generation?

5. What has been your favourite personal experience on a bike so far?

Please reply directly to this email with the subject line (Support for Cycling in Canada Questionnaire) by midnight on March 24th*.

It is our pleasure to do our best to help you share your message publicly.

If you have secondary materials you would like us to share along with your answers – i.e. a social media, photo of you on a bike, platform link – feel free to include it.

My sincere thanks for your time and consideration,

Anders Swanson
Chair, Canada Bikes

*The email to the NDP differs slightly as they choose a leader later. Candidates have until August 10th to respond.

Chris Alexander’s Response

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_9ebb

1. If elected leader – and eventually Prime Minister – your vision for cycling in Canada will reverberate across the country. Why do you believe cycling is important for Canada?

Because it’s healthy, invigorating, green and social.  Cycling brings us together and helps us lead better lives!

2. Do you support the creation of a National Cycling Strategy?

Yes!  It should be part of our work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as all those in Quebec, together with the provinces and territories.

3. If you become Prime Minister, how much do you envision the government of Canada investing annually in cycling infrastructure while you are in office?

It will depend on infrastructure priorities set by municipalities, provincial and territorial governments.  But I will give them strong incentives to support cycling and public transit.

4. The overwhelming majority of parents in Canada want better, safer routes to school. Compared to peer countries in Northern Europe, whose national transportation and infrastructure ministries have invested trillions in cycling infrastructure for decades and set meaningful policy to improve land use and reduce traffic violence, Canada has done relatively little. As a direct result, our cycling to school rates remain dismal and young people are unnecessarily being steered toward a life of physical inactivity and chronic disease. Will you commit to Canada becoming a leader in children’s mobility and cycling to school within one generation?

Yes!  We need to make this commitment — and find ways to allow kids to self-propel to work even in winter!  Snow bikes have come a long way, after all!  The federal government should establish urban design and road safety norms for cycling — following Danish and Dutch examples, which are the best in my experience.

We need to promote healthy active lifestyles in every way!  Cycling, skiing, running and walking are all part of the solution.

5. What has been your favourite personal experience on a bike so far?

I made one fairly long trip down the Old Nipissing Road — now part of the Trans Canada Trail — a few years back.  That was absolutely awesome!  My wife and I also rented bikes in Paris a while back — and had a ball….
There will be more specifics from me on active life, cities and transport.  My policies to date are here: http://chrisalexander.ca/policy

Thanks for bringing these questions into our campaign!  They are truly important….
________