BC Green party exerts pressure on riding sharing promises legislation

VANCOUVER — The Green party in British Columbia is planning to keep up the pressure to bring ride sharing to the province by reintroducing legislation to enable the services.The former Liberal government had backed ride-hailing services such as Uber to operate in the province by the end of this year, while introducing initiatives to help the taxi industry remain competitive.Green Leader Andrew Weaver says all three parties support the services, but the province’s minority NDP government has not put a timeline on bringing ride sharing to the province.Before they were defeated, the Liberals promised $1 million to help the taxi industry create an app that would allow the public to order and pay for cabs the same way they would with a ride-hailing service.They would also have given taxis exclusive rights to street hailing and wanted to work with municipal governments to reduce red tape and address shortages of taxis and vehicles for hire.The Vancouver Taxi Association opposed the plan.But Weaver said Monday there is an economic imperative to allowing ride-sharing companies to operate in the province.“The government cannot stick its head in the sand when it comes to new technology,” he said in a news release.“All parties want to see B.C. be a leader in the emerging economy. To do so, government must take a proactive, responsive approach that considers the wide-ranging impacts of technological innovation. Vancouver is the largest city in North America without ride sharing. It is time we finally made this service accessible to British Columbians.”Geoff Meggs, Premier John Horgan’s chief of staff, expressed his disappointment with the Liberal party’s plan in March when he was a member of Vancouver’s city council.At the time, Horgan promised a deeper consultation with the taxi industry to ensure local businesses are protected.The Greens have agreed to support the NDP in the legislature, and Weaver invited the other parties to work with him before he brings in legislation.“In this new minority government, we have an opportunity to work together to advance good public policy,” he said.Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said there’s an urgent need to overhaul B.C.’s regulations to open the way for ride sharing that meets consumers’ needs while creating a level playing field for all service providers.“I’m looking forward to working with Green party Leader Andrew Weaver and a full range of stakeholders as we develop a made-in-B.C. plan that protects jobs that currently exist while ensuring British Columbians have access to the modern ride-sharing services they expect,” Trevena said in a statement. read more

Court digest Trio of attackers sentenced in Simcoe

Three people who were involved in an Oakwood Avenue, Simcoe assault have now all pleaded guilty in Simcoe’s Ontario Court.Police said that November 27 last year, a woman and two men got into a home early in the morning and began to assault the female homeowner.One of the men threatened to steal both the woman’s car and her children.The victim ran to a neighbour’s property but was assaulted again before the trio took her keys and ran away.The OPP quickly identified the attackers and got warrants for their arrest.The three were convicted after each pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault, and sentenced in separate court appearances.Jorden Douglas Morin, 31, of Simcoe, was sentenced by Justice Aubrey Hilliard to time served of 177 days. He was ordered to provide a DNA sample and remain on probation for the next three years.Morin can’t own or use weapons for 10 years and was told to get counselling for anger issues, substance abuse and psychiatric or psychological problems.Kyle Leonardo Palmer, 23, of Brantford, was sentenced by Hilliard to 202 days time served.Palmer had to provide a DNA sample for the national offenders database and must remain on probation for three years.Holly Jade Larocque, 20, of Exeter, was sentenced by Justice Ken Lenz to time served of 150 days.Larocque also pleaded guilty to a November charge of breaking probation orders and a December charge of obstructing an officer. She was given a suspended sentence on the first charge and time served of a further 45 days in jail on the second. She will remain on probation for three years.Man gets more jail timeA Port Dover man who harassed one woman, stole from another and assaulted a third was given six months of time already served and another 75 days in jail when he was sentenced earlier this year in Simcoe’s Ontario Court.Trevor William Whittaker, 26, pleaded guilty before Justice Aubrey Hilliard to five counts of breaking probation orders and theft under $5,000.Whittaker didn’t report to a probation officer and failed to stay under supervision in 2017, he stole cash from a woman in May 2018 and he assaulted a woman a month later.Whittaker also pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon for his attack on a woman he had been ordered to stay away from.Hilliard ordered Whittaker to make restitution of $75 to that victim and sent him back to jail.Guilty plea in break inA man who helped steal a plasma cutter and generator from a Redbud Crescent garage in Simcoe was sentenced for that crime and several others when he appeared in Simcoe’s Ontario Court recently.Tyrell Akeem McGeary, 28, helped two others in the Sept. 17 break-in. He pleaded guilty to break and enter and breaching probation orders.McGeary also pleaded guilty to breaking his probation in June last year, threatening a person with death and not showing up for a court date in October.Justice Aubrey Hilliard gave McGeary credit for 90 days of time already served on the garage theft and ordered that he make half of the restitution owed to the victim — $1.314.Hilliard sentenced him to another 90 days of time served for his other crimes.SGamble@postmedia.com read more