VIA Rail Act Returns to Parliament
Well back in March we talked about then MP Olivia Chow's C-577 relating to VIA Rail Canada. With Olivia gone from federal politics it was up to NDP MP Philip Toone Gaspésie — Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC to bring back the VIA Rail Canada Act on June 12th, 2014. He moved for leave to introduce Bill C-614, An Act respecting VIA Rail Canada and making consequential amendments to another Act.
Fast forward to December 4th and this private members Bill C-614 by MP Philip Toone was back in parliament.
MP Toone stated," Mr. Speaker, this bill would give parliamentarians far more control over the decisions made concerning VIA Rail. It would also allow for a partnership to be established with the communities and industries involved in VIA Rail service. This bill is designed to create the legislative framework that VIA Rail has never had.
In the U.S., Amtrak was in rough shape without a legislative framework. Now, with that framework, Amtrak is on the right track. This company serves far more communities than it used to. We hope to learn from that and improve service in Canada.
VIA Rail is in crisis. Ridership is down and many routes have been cancelled. It is time that Parliament took this seriously. Do we really want passenger rail service in Canada? We must not forget that passenger rail service and the rail system built our country. We hope to maintain it for future generations. The motions deem adopted and the bill read for the first time and printed.
There are pieces in the bill and the amendments to the Canadian Transportation Act that if implemented would definitely help VIA Rail survive in the future.
For fun I have included Bill C-614 and former Minister of Transport David Collenette Bill C-26 from 2003 on the same subject matter in the same folder for people to read. VIEW THE FOLDER HERE.
Will the private members bill pass or will Stephen Harper continue to let VIA Rail drift into extinction? Time will tell.