|CAW encouraged by new public funding for VIA Rail
|During a welcomed announcement made at Toronto’s Union Station on October 11, 2007, Federal
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Lawrence Cannon and Federal Finance
Minister Jim Flaherty announced that the Federal Government will inject nearly $700 million into the
budget of VIA Rail Canada, Canada’s only national rail passenger service. The CAW said they are
encouraged by the Federal Government’s decision.
The Government has pledged $516 million in capital funding that will help pay for refurbished
locomotives, station upgrades, and infrastructure improvements in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor,
with an increase of $175.9 million directed at VIA’s operating costs over the next five years.
Union officials considered today’s announcement a much-needed boost to the finances of Canada’s
passenger rail service, which has been struggling from a severe budget shortfall over the last years.
In 2006, the CAW launched a national campaign to bring attention to VIA’s funding crisis. The union
collected over 50,000 signed postcards that were delivered to Transport Minister Cannon at a meeting
in March, and organized a series of rallies in cities throughout the country.
|Above Photo: CAW Asst. to the President Bob Chernecki (left),
Council 4000 Regional Rep Danny Andru (fourth from left),
CAW President Buzz Hargrove (third from right) and Local 100
President Bryon DeBates join VIA Rail members following the
VIA funding announcement at Union Station in Toronto.
|“This funding is a lifeline for VIA Rail services that was desperately needed,” said CAW President Buzz Hargrove. “Minister Cannon and the Federal
government have done well to ensure that Canada’s public rail system is fully funded now and for the future.”
In the wake of a devastating manufacturing jobs crisis in Canada, Hargrove says that he is optimistic that the new locomotive and equipment purchases will
be a boon to workers who manufacture rail cars in London and Thunder Bay, Ontario.
“This announcement not only benefits the over 3,000 CAW members at VIA Rail, but could also provide an example of how purchasing Canadian-made
products can be used to maintain and create jobs in the Canadian economy,” said Hargrove.
CAW National Council 4000 represents over 2,250 VIA Rail employees who work on-board VIA passenger trains as customer service representatives,
attendants, cooks, baggage handlers, customer service and ticket agents, labourers, locomotive hostlers and various administrative positions.
Related: CAW Fund VIA Rail
Source: CAW NewsNow and CAW Council 4000