LETTER: Bill to require courts to take aggravating circumstances into account

Criminal offences like attack on bus driver happen somewhere in Canada more than 2,000 times every year.

The sad news about an assault this week on an Abbotsford bus driver brings to mind the sobering statistic that criminal offences like this happen somewhere in Canada more than 2,000 times every year.

Bus drivers are called upon to provide open, accessible service to the public wherever their transit systems operates, and at all hours of the day and night.  That makes them vulnerable, and lawmakers should do everything possible to help protect them.

That’s why I have introduced Private Member’s Bill C-533 in the House of Commons.

It would require the courts, when sentencing the perpetrator of any offence against an on-duty bus driver, to take into account the nature of the victim’s employment as an “aggravating circumstance” justifying more severe punishment.  This, coupled with aggressive communications campaigns to warn would-be offenders, would at least help to improve safety conditions for bus drivers.

I hope all Members of Parliament, regardless of Party, will see the merit of this approach and support Bill C-533.

Hon. Ralph Goodale, MP (Wascana, Sk)

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada