Towering snow-capped mountains, lush evergreen forests teeming with wildlife, deep blue beaches studded with little settlements. This is not a scene from a fantasy book; instead, it is Canada, a country with some of the most breathtaking natural features on the planet.
Travelling across the country might seem as a smooth ride but actually it is a daunting challenge. If you’re a transit operator or a transit professional or a passenger, you never know when you’ll get spat on or get pushed, punched, sexually assaulted, stabbed or shot at. Can you believe that? Welcome to Trudeau’s Canada!
Following an increase in violent attacks targeting both passengers and operators, commuters in Canada have been using the city’s public transportation system with increasing trepidation. And what is the PM doing? He is busy preaching love and kindness to the public. When it comes to action he is as busy as a hibernating bear.
Silence on attacks
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other decision-makers have been urged by the national president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) to keep their commitments to address random acts of violence on public transportation.
Recently, the largest city in Canada’s transportation network, Toronto, had seven documented acts of violence during the course of the last seven days. This includes a woman who was repeatedly stabbed by an unknown person while riding one of Toronto’s well-known streetcars. A 16-year-old boy was stabbed in the torso on a bus the next day. Another incident had two adolescents shooting a bus driver with a BB gun. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) said that two further employees were chased by a person with a syringe at a subway station four days later.
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Following a string of attacks on transit workers in Toronto and abroad, union leader John Di Nino held a press conference a few days back.
“Today, we heard from the prime minister who made a commitment to have these discussions about how we can tackle violence on transit systems. I hope and anticipate that it’s not just talk and that our office gets a phone call,” Di Nino said of remarks Trudeau made earlier in the day.
Keeping Canadians safe must be one of the top jobs that all orders of government need to put at the forefront of everything they do. But, unfortunately the feds are too busy for that. The ATU has requested the formation of a national task force made up of representatives from all Canadian levels of government and transit organisations to look into the “out of control” violence and provide remedies.
“Far too often we sit and listen to all of the kind words that come from CEOs and transit agencies and politicians saying ‘our hearts and best wishes go out to all of those victims. But it’s a one-off and our systems are safe’,” said Di Nino.
Di Nino claims that, excluding assaults that go unreported, transportation operators experience up to 3,000 assaults annually across Canada.
“There are many, many that are being unreported… Whether an operator or transit professional gets spat on or gets pushed or punched but gets back into the seat and starts doing their job again,” said Di Nino.
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