Cheri DiNovo, Driving Change

Driving Change with Cheri DiNovo

From the dandyARCHIVE

Photo by Neil Wysocki

Interview by Tammy Thorne

~ This article originally appeared in dandyhorse Issue No. 5, Fall 2010 ~

Following her dandyhorse interview, on the day this photo was taken, Cheri DiNovo participated in Mad Pride as she does every year, helping push a gurney down Queen Street West before attending three more events that day. As a United Church minister she performed the first legalized same-sex marriage in North America. She held a prayer vigil at the security wall during the G20 and was later seen on Brock Street chanting with her Parkdale neighbours, “We want our police not your police” until they left the street. In her role as an NDP MPP DiNovo fought to raise the minimum wage above $10 and won, ensuring a raise for more than one million Ontarians — proof that a private member’s bill can make a difference.

The proactive and energetic MPP tabled a bill in May 2010 that would give cyclists three feet when motorists pass at speeds less than 50 km/hr (faster speeds would require wider berth). France, Germany, Spain and 16 U.S. states have enacted similar laws and another eight states have more ambiguously worded “safe passing” laws. When will Ontario follow suit? dandyhorse sat down to ask DiNovo about the power of private member's bills and more for this, our "dandy votes" municipal election issue.

Does the three-foot passing law private member’s bill have a chance in Ontario?

We proved we could make change when we raised the minimum wage. It’s time this law came to Canada. It will reach second reading in the spring of 2011 and the provincial election will be that fall. [Minister of Transportation] Kathleen Wynne has been somewhat encouraging on this – the right words are coming out of her mouth. This government is susceptible to public pressure, so keep the emails coming and remember the power of Facebook. The law will educate drivers about their responsibility to share the road and aid the enforcement of safe driving. Ultimately, the purpose of the proposed law is safe streets for all. Private member’s bills rarely go anywhere unless there is all-party support, so WRITE YOUR MPP!

Congestion fees for Toronto?

Well, with the Transit City tragedy... We must provide alternatives for people who can’t afford to live downtown or who choose to live a suburban lifestyle. They need an alternative form of transportation that is reliable. Public transit must by enhanced; then you can start to use congestion fees, but at this point in time they might be seen as prohibitive.

Bike lanes?

There should be bike lanes on all major thoroughfares in the core.

Will Toronto see a bike sharing bonanza?

Yes, certainly something like Bike Share can work in Toronto. The church I was minister at had one of the CBN yellow bike bike-share hubs. It was wonderful.

Toronto’s world class status?

We’re stumbling along. Look at the transformation of New York City. There was a point when America realized that NYC is “America to the world” and we have yet to realize that with Toronto. The current waterfront is an embarrassment. Where is the political will and the money? All levels of government have to be able to see the economic benefits of a project like that. It’s hard to have faith when we clearly don’t live in a democracy – look at the G20. But I do believe in progress.

So it is worth it; to fight for what is right.

~ This article originally appeared in dandyhorse Issue No. 5, Fall 2010 ~

Related on the dandyBLOG:

Keeping Ontario's Roads Safe Act: proposes expanded protection for cyclists (NEW! March 2014)

dandyARCHIVE: Night Out With The Nightshades

dandyARCHIVE: Point/Counterpoint e-bikes

dandyARCHIVE: Debunking the carbuncle


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