OTTAWA – ViA Rail in Canada is struggling to maintain ridership, and facing increased costs. Thunder Bay Superior North MP and Deputy Green Party leader Bruce Hyer has long been a fan of passenger rail service. Trains have long been an important part of Canada’s transportation strategy.
MP Hyer was up in the House of Commons this week, questioning the government over VIA Rail’s annual report.
Bruce Hyer on VIA Rail
Mr. Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay—Superior North, GP): Mr. Speaker, on May 14, the government tabled VIA Rail’s troubling annual report. Ridership and on-time performance are down. Costs and losses are up. But there may be hope. VIA is off-track, but Amtrak is on-track. There are two unfilled positions on the VIA board. Will the Minister of Transport consider appointing former Amtrak president and Cape Breton resident, David Gunn, to our VIA board?
Mr. Jeff Watson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, CPC): Mr. Speaker, of course, I will let the minister make the appropriate appointments in due course. But the member will know that VIA Rail is an independent arm’s-length crown corporation responsible for its operational decisions. Its primary objective is to provide safe and efficient passenger service. In keeping with this, VIA is responsible for providing services in as cost-effective manner as possible. It must work to ensure it is not a burden to taxpayers.