Jeannette Holman-Price has been fighting for years to make sideguards mandatory on trucks across the country — but her campaign hit a snag Tuesday morning when Montreal councillors voted instead to study the best way to roll out mandatory barriers for contractors.
“I’m beyond disgusted,” she told Global News.
Her daughter Jessica died in December 2005 in Westmount. The 21-year-old had pushed her brother out of the path of a snow truck that was turning a corner and ended up crushed underneath.
Over the past 13 years, Holman-Price has been campaigning for sideguards.
Councillor Alan DeSousa tabled a bill that Holman-Price supported that would make it mandatory by Jan. 1, 2019 for city contractors to install the barriers. He eventually withdrew the bill amid opposition from the majority.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said in council she supported the idea but added that the city needed more time. Councillors voted a maximum time window of six months to analyze how to roll the measure out with the vendors the city uses for various services.
“I’m not only disappointed,” DeSousa said. “I am furious that the administration chose to delay, to obfuscate, to drag their feet on an issue of public safety.”
Plante — who supported Holman-Price’s push for city trucks to be equipped with safeguards in 2016 — said that DeSousa could have acted more quickly when he was in the majority.
“We studied it,” DeSousa said. “It was approved by the executive committee in 2017 and the services were mandated to come up with a short-term plan, and nothing has been done.”
For Holman-Price, the six-month delay is too long. She said they city contractor trucks can’t be made safer soon enough.
“How dare they pretend that it has something to do with administration,” she said. “St. John’s, Newfoundland, when it was proposed as a bylaw, it was three weeks. Montreal can’t behave quicker than three weeks?”