February 16, 2015

Bill C-640. VIA Rail Canada Act


On Friday, Philip Toone, MP for Gaspésie--Îles-de-la-Madeleine, will introduce in the House of Commons Bill C-640, An Act respecting Via Rail Canada. After decades of service cuts, VIA is languishing waiting for the next axe to chop a little more off. In the meantime people in the regions are becoming more isolated, and businesses in urban areas with little public transportation are having trouble recruiting workers. Something must be done. I’m going to write a letter to my MP.


February 16, 2015

Marc Garneau,
MP for Westmount-Ville-Marie

Dear Mr Garneau

On February 20, Philip Toone, MP for Gaspésie--Îles-de-la-Madeleine, will introduce in the House of Commons Bill C-640, An Act respecting Via Rail Canada and making consequential amendments to the Canada Transportation Act. This bill will provide VIA with a clear mandate to provide Canadians with the rail service they deserve. Other industrialized countries, including the United States, are investing heavily in intercity passenger rail. While in Canada, successive governments have cut VIA Rail services from its infancy. Its true, the current government has invested a one time amount of over $900 million in VIA starting in 2007. However, this is miniscule compared to other government investments in infrastructure that move Canadians. This investment has not made much of an effect as there is no government passenger transportation policy either short, medium, or long term. In 2012, the government cut VIA services that Canadians were using without any public consultation.

It is time to give VIA Rail Canada the stability and direction by providing the framework in which to operate. There is a change happening now in that people, including the elderly and the millennials, don’t have a car or don’t want to drive. Bus service has also been cut drastically and airports serve only the major centres. Canada needs a real intercity passenger rail system. VIA Rail needs this bill to increase service or remain stagnant and do a poor job of serving Canadians This bill needs support from all parties. I ask you to support this bill for our future.

Yours truly,

Barry Brake
Montreal, QC