Thursday, September 2, 2010

Letter to John Pearson, Project Director, Council of Ministers of Transportation

John Pearson
Program Director
Council Of Ministers and Deputy Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety,
2323 St. Laurent Blvd,
Ottawa, ON, K1G 4J8

September 2, 2010

Dear Mr. Pearson:

This is a follow up to a phone call that was made to your office on Tuesday, August 31, 2010.

I am writing to request that we be allowed to attend the session at the Council of Ministers meeting in Halifax which will deal with the 15 passenger van safety review that was announced by former federal Transport Minister John Baird on June 25, 2010. See "Government of Canada launches a safety review of vans used for student transportation" at

I quote: "As part of the consultation, the Government of Canada will seek input from provinces and territories on improving 15-passenger van safety. The issue will be discussed at the Council of Ministers meeting in September 2010 in Halifax, which will bring together the provincial, territorial and federal governments."

As you may know, we mothers from Bathurst, New Brunswick have been instrumental in raising the profile of the 15 passenger van issue nationally and internationally since the deaths of our sons in the Boys in Red tragedy. With the announcement by the former Minister following so closely on the heels of the introduction of Private Members Bill C-522 by our Member of Parliament, Yvon Godin, to ban 15 passenger vans for student use across Canada, we feel it is appropriate that we be allowed to attend the session which will deal with 15 passenger van safety, since it is the death of our sons that led to this safety review.

We would also like to distribute an information package to members of the COM which contains up to date information on the issue of 15 passenger vans versus 21 passenger Multi Function Activity Vehicles (MFAVs). You are aware that 15 passenger vans were banned for student transportation in New Brunswick following the Bathurst tragedy, but they had previously been banned by Nova Scotia in 1996. In July 2008, six months after our sons were killed, Quebec also banned the use of these vans for student transportation. Throughout the rest of the country there is a patchwork of rules and regulations governing student transportation and we feel that the review will show that these vehicles must be permanently banned before there is another Boys in Red tragedy in Canada.

If you have any questions about this request, I can be reached by telephone during the work week at 506-546-6370 or by cel at 506-544-0533 after 3 pm New Brunswick time.

In the meantime, we hope to hear from you soon regarding this request.

Yours sincerely,

Isabelle Hains


Minister Chuck Strahl, Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

Deputy Minister, Yaprak Baltacioglu, Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

Yvon Godin, Member of Parliament, Bathurst-Acadie

David J. Johnstone, Deputy Minister of Transportation, Province of New Brunswick

M Gravel, Secretary, Council of Ministers and Deputy Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety

Stella Gurr, Nanaimo, British Columbia

Bryan Murphy, Safety Advocate, CUPE 606, Nanaimo, BC

Delalene Harris-Foran, President, CUPE 1253, New Brunswick