Posts Tagged ‘car seats’

Manitoba’s NDP government has actually reached the point of no return for a government, as its corruption becomes more than just a whispered rumour and becomes daily headlines in the newspapers.  If it were a TV show, they’d say this government has jumped the shark.

But as a member of the Manitoba Liberal Party, you’d expect me to say that… that’s what politics is all about, right?  Well, to show that this is more than just an attempt to boost the Liberals, I’ll compare the NDP to the Tories in our Legislature.

Now I’m not a fan of the Tories as a political party, but I have many friends who are affiliated with the PCs, and I know that at their heart the PC members truly are working for what they believe is the best plan for Manitoba.  Sometimes they’re right, and sometimes they’re wrong, but at least they’re pretty honest about what they believe.

To compare the two parties, I’ll use the latest example: booster seats.  There are two common beliefs as far as booster seats are concerned: a) booster seats are important, so they should be mandatory, and b) the government shouldn’t tell me what to do.  Belief ‘b’ is used for many other issues, and does not argue that booster seats are stupid or ineffective.

So the NDP has three options when dealing with a private member’s bill on mandating booster seats to the limit agreed upon by the consensus of medical and safety experts and a majority of jurisdictions:

  1. Support the bill, whether in its current form or in a modified form if technical fault is found in the current wording.
  2. Declare themselves the New Libertarian Party and say that it’s none of the government’s business.  This is almost what they are saying with their “education is better than legislation” concept.  Too bad they don’t feel that way about allowing non-unionized business to compete equally with unionized business.
  3. Demonstrate just how out of touch they are with reality by using debate of the bill to display that they can’t accept a good idea if it didn’t come from Mr. Doer.

Officially, the NDP went with #2 when speaking to the press, but in the legislature, when they were actually speaking from the heart (or the spleen?), they went with #3.  Here are some choice selections from Hansard:

Well, once again, I’m going to stand in this House and claim myself an expert on this particular issue…

Southdale MLA Erin Selby, after the bill was introduced by a medical doctor.

I do think it’s important for parents to understand the importance of booster seats and, and I, I have sort of made it my business to talk to parents about that when I see sometimes the odd person who has a three-year-old or a four-year-old not in a booster seat because, of course, Manitoba law recognizes that that is too small. I know there’s some cases where kids are exceptionally tall or exceptionally heavy and, and really don’t fit the booster seat any longer but in most cases until you’re five years old or if you’re kind of on the skinny side, like my three girls are, you might be closer to seven and a half, eight years old before you reach that 50 pound mark and, and should really be safely in the, in the shoulder strap.

Selby again, claiming an expert opinion that is counter apparently to every safety group on the planet Earth.

If you legislate that people have to be 4.9 feet before they can get out of a booster seat, there may be a few members in this House who are going to have to back into a booster seat. We’ll see about that.

Selby yet again, either as an attempt at humour or admitting that she did not actually pay attention to the stipulations of weight and age in the bill.

Once they reach 50 pounds they’re probably safe to put the car strap over their shoulder as well…

Selby re-iterating that if, as an expert, she says something, it must be true even if it flies in the face of all evidence and global consensus.

The other thing, too, is that we have to look at is that we are encouraging people to come to Manitoba, and we’ve had phenomenal growth in our population, and for immigant–immigrant populations, this can become one of those extra costs to moving into Manitoba.

Kirkfield Park MLA Sharon Blady, showing concern that Manitoba’s population will plummet as people move to somewhere with less safety legislation.  Somalia, perhaps?

I think we’re at a point now, maybe in light of what’s happened economically with the likes of General Motors, maybe now that the federal government owns a share, we can start having a say in car design, and, you know, maybe we, as the general populace, as the owners, as the shareholders in an automotive company, maybe we could all, you know, think about, as shareholders, what we’d like to see, and maybe integrated car seats that do factor in longer periods of time is the way to go. But then again I’d also, you know, wonder why GM got rid of the EVs, because–but, then again, that’s a whole other issue and I’ll save that to the documentary film makers to discuss who killed the electric car.

Blady again, hoping that futuristic cars will someday solve a problem that already has a ready solution.

So we need to be safer how we drive anyways. It doesn’t matter if your child is in the best car seat in the world and they’re in there until they’re twelve and a half, if you’re driving around like a maniac talking on your cellphone and running through radars, you know, photo radars, it really doesn’t matter. You know, again, you can be in the most industrial designed SUV and have your child in a car seat, but if you’re not driving prudently, then you’re putting your child’s life at risk in a way that no car seat will ever compensate for.

Blady once more.  Having just stated that not everything should be legislated, Blady decided to mention how effective legislation is when it comes to safety issues.

So, Mr. Speaker, I have to say that our government has taken the steps necessary to provide for the injury prevention of our children, and I think, with respect to this particular legislation, we have taken the steps necessary already, whether it be in the farm safety walkabout program, the Safe Play Area grants, the bicycle helmet program that we provide to low-income families–or free to those families–and, of course, to other Manitobans, as well, but we have taken many steps to provide for the safety of our– [time expired]

Transcona MLA Daryl Reid, stating that bicycle helmets and farm safety have removed the need for booster seat legislation.

And I think none of us in this House would want to be responsible for telling families to do something that could then endanger their children.

Fort Rouge MLA Jennifer Howard, taking the brave step of saying that it’s better to place 60 lb children into restraints designed for 165 lb men than to worry about parents learning to use a booster seat (because learning to use a car seat for the first 3-4 years of their child’s life was an impossible task).

If I didn’t have nieces and nephews and a toddler at home, I’d find this NDP attempt at absurdist comedy quite entertaining.

Now let’s contrast the ridiculous comments of these NDP members with the comments from PC MLA for Athur-Virden, Larry Maguire:

The situation in Manitoba is such, I think, that the bill that’s been brought is very reasonable. It is certainly parallel to what’s been happening in British Columbia, Newfoundland, P.E.I. and New Brunswick, a number of other provinces, including Ontario and Québec, where children are either eight or nine years old. They’re in that size range of the 145 centimetres, about four foot nine, as the member from Southdale has indicated, as well as from 80 pounds in weight, Mr. Speaker.


And so I, I believe that this is a good bill. I believe that the–that this is something that I would certainly support. I believe that the situation that we’ve got in, in Manitoba today should–we should have unanimous support for this kind of a bill in the House.


Perhaps they could even be cognizant of bringing a program in to deal with support for booster seats in Manitoba of this nature, Mr. Speaker. When you’re looking at–this is a government that brought in a, a program for purchasing hybrid vehicles, if you would–dollars, rebates, back to people that bought hybrid vehicles. I mean, the cost of a booster seat is nowhere near the, the rebate on a hybrid vehicle. They’ve got support for bicycle helmets in the province and, and while bicycle helmets may not be of the same cost, they sometimes can be actually more than a booster seat as well.So, if we really were supportive of these kinds of things, they could take some of the money that they’re wasting on the $640 million that will be lost by building the west-side line, and it would only be a very, very fraction amount needed to support, to support the addition of booster seats in the province of Manitoba, Mr. Speaker.

Now that’s a reasoned response from a member who has obviously taken the time to study the issue, who has met with a safety group to discuss this issue, and who was willing to compliment Dr. Gerrard on a bill that makes sense.

Manitobans deserve better than the political nonsense that NDP MLAs are spouting in the Legislature.  As Bill Maher discovered while speaking to Mark Pryor, senator from Arkansas, “You don’t have to pass an IQ test to be in the senate, though”. I do, however, expect better from our MLAs.

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