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Vancouver Island MP raises Island rail question in Parliament as deadline looms

A Vancouver Island Member of Parliament brought up the Island Rail Corridor in Ottawa’s question period.

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor posed the question on Friday, suggesting the Liberals make a decision on the issue which is facing an impending deadline.

MacGregor says:

“People on Vancouver Island have been left wondering whether this government deems public rail worth saving. A deadline was set by the B.C. Court of Appeals for this government to decide if the Island Rail Corridor should continue to exist. That deadline is next month, and this government hasn’t conducted consultation with the First Nations whose territories the rail line runs through. Being unable to keep the trains running on time is one thing but sitting by while infrastructure falls into disrepair is another.

Why have the Liberals been asleep at the switch, and failing to conduct appropriate consultation?”

Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport Annie Koutrakis responded saying she looks forward to working with MacGregor to ensure Canadians get the service they need.

“Canadians from coast to coast to coast deserve to have reliable infrastructure to be able to commute from anywhere that they live across this beautiful country,” says Koutrakis. “I look forward to working with him across the aisle to make sure that Canadians always receive the services they deserve.”

The deadline was set by the courts in September 2021. It dictated that a decision to reinstate train service be made by March of 2023 or the land on which the railway sits be returned to the crown.

It’s currently owned by the Island Corridor Foundation, who’ve created a case study on how they would upgrade the almost 300 kilometers of rail across Vancouver Island. It was released in May of last year.

No passenger rail service has existed on the Island since 2011, with slow-speed freight service discontinued in 2014.

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