OTTAWA – Elizabeth May says, “Trans-Canada passenger rail service under threat again”. The Green Party of Canada is urging the Liberal government to follow through on commitments to keep VIA Rail’s Toronto-to-Vancouver train running.
Tuesday during Question Period in the House of Commons, Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, put the question to Transport Minister Marc Garneau on the future of VIA’s Canadian transcontinental passenger train:
“The previous minister of transportation convened a panel chaired by former cabinet minister David Emerson, and it has now reported. Shockingly, it recommends that the Liberal government kill passenger rail service between Toronto and Vancouver. This trans-continental train, the Canadian, is an essential part of Sir John A. Macdonald’s national dream,” Ms. May said.
In response, Mr. Garneau committed to retaining coast-to-coast passenger rail service, but the question of VIA Rail funding remains, said Bruce Hyer, Green Party Deputy Leader.
“The Liberals have a critical choice to make for passenger rail in Canada: whether to repair the damage of a thousand funding cuts over many decades by previous governments, or to allow integral passenger rail service continue to decline,” Mr. Hyer said.
“Canada is the only developed country in the world that is not investing in enhanced passenger rail services. Indeed, we are the only country in the world that has no national rail strategy at all.”
Ms. May added: “The Emerson report points out that U.S.-owned Amtrak operates under its own legislation. But rather than recommend Canada legislate to protect VIA Rail’s mandate, the Emerson report exploits that weakness to call for killing transcontinental service and ending support for the Toronto-to-Vancouver VIA service. This is unacceptable, and I call on the Liberal government to reject this short-sighted recommendation.”