New Democrats are Calling Harper Government Out for Postponing News on Service Cuts
June 13, 2012
OTTAWA – After slashing federal support for VIA Rail by $20 million in annual funding, the Conservatives are cowardly waiting for Parliament to be on summer break before service cuts are announced.
It’s already clear that connections between Halifax and Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver – and several others, will be affected. But the Harper government is holding back on official announcements lest Parliament raises the issue of reckless service cuts.
Olivia Chow, the NDP Transport Critic and Deputy Critic Robert Aubin called the Conservatives to account on this vital issue during Question Period:
Ms. Olivia Chow (Trinity—Spadina, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, a Conservative leak has revealed that drastic cuts to VIA Rail are coming later this month. Conservatives are waiting until Parliament’s summer break before letting Canadians know the truth. Travel from Toronto to Vancouver will be cut to only two trains a week. There will be cuts to services in southern Ontario and cuts to service from Halifax to Montreal.
Will the Conservative government make these cuts public before we vote on their Trojan horse job-killing budget?
Hon. Steven Fletcher (Minister of State (Transport), CPC):
Mr. Speaker, VIA Rail regularly reviews its operations and makes changes where they make sense. We continue to work with VIA Rail to ensure economically efficient passenger rail for Canadians.
We are voting tonight. I wonder if the members across the way could ask themselves why they want to send billions of dollars over to Europe, to countries that do not manage their funds properly and not focus on Canada?