TORONTO, Nov. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's passenger rail system is in
crisis, and Unifor is calling for an overhaul of the system, including
developing a network of high speed railways, in a policy paper entitled
"Getting on board," unveiled today in Toronto.
"Railways helped build the modern Canada we know today," said Unifor
National President Jerry Dias. "Investing in passenger rail could
translate into increased energy conservation, lower our ecological
footprint and reduce urban congestion. That's the way of the future."
Dias said that the government's current attempts to cut their way to
prosperity at Via Rail have resulted in abject failure.
In June of 2012, Via Rail management announced cutbacks in both
employment and train frequency. Earlier that year, the Government of
Canada announced another round of cutbacks in Via Rail's public
funding. Government projections for 2013 and 2014 indicate that Via
Rail's overall funding is set to be reduced by 65 percent between 2010
Years of government funding cuts at Via Rail have led to service and job
reductions - and a corresponding decline in ridership, Unifor is
calling for a new vision for passenger rail in Canada - a bold new plan
that would introduce high speed rail to Canadians, boost jobs and help
reduce Canada's environmental footprint.
"No major public infrastructure project has come without working
co-operatively with governments at all levels and stakeholders from all
sectors," said Dias.
Unifor is arguing that the modernization of Canada's national passenger
rail system could be a crucial ingredient in kick-starting a genuine
economic recovery, creating good jobs for young workers who are facing
record breaking unemployment rates.
Toronto City Councillor Adam Vaughan, who spoke at Unifor's press
conference in Toronto earlier today, welcomes Unifor's vision.
"High-speed rail is essential to connecting cities in southern Ontario,
including our universities and colleges," said Vaughan. "By connecting
our communities and facilitating commutes for students and workers, a
high-speed rail system would secure the future economic growth of the
"By publicly funding passenger rail and procuring domestically, the
stimulus to manufacturing and associated creation of good jobs with
ample tax benefits could be enormous," said Unifor Economist Jordan
"With faster trains, better service, increased connectedness and higher
frequency, passenger rail would more effectively compete with the
automobile and the airplane," said Brennan.
To read Unifor's newly released vision for Canadian passenger rail,
SOURCE: Unifor the union
For further information:
please contact Unifor Communications Director Shannon Devine cell -416-302-1699 or Unifor Rail Sector Director Brian Stevens cell- 416-567-8281