Passenger Rail Cuts: Rural Communities Suffer From Conservative Inaction

Lack of Federal Action Hitting Rural Communities as Passenger Rail Lines Are Shut Down NDP Criticises

February 7, 2012

OTTAWA – Train services in the Gaspésie region of Quebec, and on Vancouver Island have been shut down as a direct result of the Conservative government’s neglect. The lack of investment in rural rail infrastructure has shut down rail service that had been running for over a hundred years.

“This Conservative government’s lack of investment has led to a drastic reduction of rail services in BC, Ontario and Quebec,” said Olivia Chow, (Trinity—Spadina) NDP Transport Critic. “Rail services are very important to rural economies.”

Local mayors and business owners in BC and Quebec have expressed concerns about the potential impact on tourism and business in the region.

“The loss of passenger service means the loss of a key economic development tool as well as placing a further burden on the already congested and increasingly unsafe Island Highway,” said Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca).

“People in my riding were abandoned by the federal government,” said Philip Toone (Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine). “After the cuts to Fisheries and Oceans, the economies of coastal communities in Eastern Quebec and Western BC are now taking another hit from the Conservatives.”

The NDP is calling on the government to take action in order to restore essential train services for rural communities.

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