Agassiz bus driver Gary Lillico has taken his petition to get seatbelts on school buses to the House of Commons. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Agassiz bus driver’s seatbelt petition heads to Ottawa

Gary Lillico is hoping his one-month petition will make a mark on the House of Commons

An Agassiz bus driver’s petition to get seatbelts installed in Canadian school buses has now reached the House of Commons.

Gary Lillico, a bus driver in the Agassiz area who is currently on medical leave, first brought forward a petition to get seatbelts on school buses in October of 2018. Within weeks, his petition had reached more than 20,000 online signatures.

“I got in the bus on the first day, and I put the seatbelt on,” the 62-year-old driver said. “I turn around, and I look, and there’s no seatbelts for the kids.

“I get it in public transit,” he added. “There’s millions of people pouring on and off every stop. But kids, you know … if it gets a side impact, the kids on one side go right to the other side” of the bus.

RELATED: Agassiz Harrison school bus driver starts petition to get seatbelts on school buses

Lillico’s efforts took his petition to CBC’s The Fifth Estate, where the investigative television series examined of the possible issues with the current standard for school buses, and he brought his concerns to the B.C. provincial government as well.

“I wrote (provincial transportation minister) Claire Trevena,” Lillico said. “No response. I wrote (provincial minister of public safety) Mike Farnworth, and after quite a lengthy time, I got an email from somebody … saying what all the rules and regulations were.”

“So B.C. hasn’t been real responsive,” he added. “You start close, and I didn’t really get anything there.”

Now, Lillico has is petition before the House of Commons in hopes that the federal government will be able to make some changes for students going to and from school.

Alberta MP Rachael Harder is the sponsor for the online petition, which currently has nearly 700 signatures from across the country. Harder’s Lethbridge, Alta. riding is a few hundred kilometres away from the town of Rimbey, where a Grade 12 student died during a 2008 school bus crash.

Lillico’s petition will remain open until June 8. After then, it will be certified by the Clerk of Petitions and presented in the House of Commons. The government will table a response to the petition at that time.

What does Lillico hope that response will be?

“At the very least, seatbelts being mandated at least some time in the future, or in new buses,” he said.

RELATED: Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Currently, the federal government has regulations in place for people who choose to put seatbelts on school buses. But installing belts can be costly, especially for contractors with multiple vehicles.

“It’s an expensive proposition,” he said, but added that if all the provinces and the federal government chipped in, it’s possible it could be done.

Lillico’s petition will be available online until June 8, at 2:04 p.m. (PDT) at petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2143.



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Chilliwack musician is embracing the revival of the accordion

Accordionist Debra Kartz has seen the instrument become popular again and wants to inspire the next generation

Time to specify where Chilliwack spending priorities should be

It’s that time of year again when City of Chilliwack engages its citizens to weigh in on budgeting

Fantasy Farms told to stop holding special events on farmland that go against agricultural rules

The Morans say it might spell the end of their seasonal events like Reapers Haunted Attractions

Chilliwack school board votes 4-3 not to oppose homeless shelter location

‘The Portal is a response to the problems, not the other way around’: Trustee Willow Reichelt

Birdies fly fast and furious at Chilliwack Badminton Club

The competitive club meets twice weekly in the Rosedale Traditional Community School gymnasium.

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

$100,000 reward for B.C. gangster extended to United States

Police belive fugitive Conor D’Monte may be in the Los Angeles area

Emily Carr University closed Sunday after fire causes some damage

The school is working with Vancouver police to assist their investigation into the fire

Most Read