Conservatives Spurn Rail Corridor

Vancouver Island MPs Denise Savoie (Victoria), Jean Crowder (Nanaimo-Cowichan), and Catherine Bell (Vancouver Island North) were disappointed with news today that Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon will not meet with them to discuss federal support for rail corridor infrastructure until after his summer holidays.

"It is sad to see more evidence that the priorities of Vancouver Island are not among the priorities of this Conservative government," said Savoie. "We hand-delivered an invitation three weeks ago to meet any time, anywhere, and the Minister agreed to meet in the short term. It's hard to believe there was no time between then and the end of the parliamentary session."

A conference call in August, after the Minister's vacation, was proposed as a substitute to a face-to-face discussion.

"It's obvious that the government doesn't place a high priority on improving transportation options for Vancouver Island", said Bell. "By not meeting in a timely way the Minister is blocking the tracks for the Island Corridor Foundation."

The Island Corridor Foundation has estimated that the rail corridor needs $12 million over five years in infrastructure restoration in order to proceed. This spring, the Conservative government pledged $492 million for Asia-Pacific Gateway funding and over $1 billion for climate change projects.

"This project has tremendous potential for Island communities, for our transit infrastructure, and for reducing our greenhouse gases," said Crowder. "Everyone else is on board, but the Conservative government hasn't arrived at the station."

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