Via Rail Cuts Frustrate Thunder Bay Superior North MP
OTTAWA – Politics – Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Bruce Hyer called on the government to take strong action to save Canadian passenger rail during today’s Question Period. Hyer said:“CN Rail is abandoning the line from Bathurst to Miramichi that VIA rail needs to connect the Maritimes to the rest of Canada. CN is also ending passenger service north of Sault Ste. Marie. Mr. Speaker, passenger rail service is in jeopardy across our country! Why won’t the Minister of Transport or the Conservative members for Sault Ste. Marie or Miramichi take action to save passenger rail … from CN rail?”
“The Harper government has consistently slashed VIA funding in recent years. Now, their failure to lead on the issue of rail policy is affecting the Algoma Central Railway. CN announced last week that they would abandon the railway between Miramichi and Bathurst, and passenger rail service north of Sault. Ste Marie,” Hyer said. “The Conservatives are systematically destroying passenger rail from coast-to-coast.”
Funding Restoration sought by Hyer
Hyer said the government must restore funding to VIA and passenger rail service across the country, and must take control of their national railways to save passenger rail.
“Thanks to government inaction, CN is able to cancel passenger rail service on a whim. Canadians’ ability to travel by rail is subject only to the bottom lines of shipping corporations like CN. The Conservatives have allowed large rail companies to hijack transportation in this country, and it has to stop. They have to put their foot down and make CN clean up its act and protect passenger rail and rail safety,” Hyer said.
“Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden, when he was in opposition, advocated nationalizing Canada’s rail beds many decades ago and generating revenue by charging large rail companies rent for their use,” Hyer noted. “And more recently, when CN moved to abandon three line segments in Southern Ontario vital to VIA’s Quebec City – Windsor corridor, they were bought by the government through VIA. While years of neglect mean that VIA’s current budget could no longer afford this, the government could easily step in with the relative pittance needed. It’s time for today’s Conservatives to show some leadership and consider taking control of Canadian railways to save passenger rail across this country.”