Greens welcome new federal funding for Maritime Rail

The Green Party of Canada welcomes news that the federal government is intervening to save Maritime passenger rail.

Minister of Transportation Lisa Raitt was in Fredericton today to announce new federal funding for the maintenance and repair of a stretch of New Brunswick railway between Miramichi and Bathurst. The 70-kilometre line is owned by CN Railway but is used by VIA Rail’s Halifax-to-Montreal Ocean route.

In January of this year, CN announced it planned to discontinue service on the line and would be putting it up for sale, prompting Bruce Hyer, Green Deputy Leader and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North, to launch the Save Maritime Rail whistle top tour. Hyer held a series of rallies at train stations along the Ocean route, calling on the federal government to restore funding for passenger rail.

“Much remains to be done to save Canada’s rail system, but every win counts,“ said Hyer. “During the whistlestop tour I met with some of the thousands of people in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for whom the train is a vital link to family, jobs, and medical care, and I am so glad that their voices were finally heard in Ottawa.”

“Our party was the first to really bring attention to the crisis facing Maritime passenger rail and to take a stand for the people who would be most affected by these changes,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “We have a long way to go to ensure the long term sustainability of Canadian rail, but this is a good first step.”