Editor’s note: A copy of the following letter was provided to the Journal Argus.
Appeal to Gary Schellenberger, MP, Perth-Wellington:
When asked to get involved in the VIA issue, many felt the sole issue was ridership. Ridership is an important issue by itself and is enough reason for us to be involved.
In the ensuing months, we have discovered the VIA issue is a VERY HOT issue with the public. This has been demonstrated by phenomenal media support, event support, and the emotional comments made in the media and on the current online petition.
There are two other reasons that may be more important to all:
Economic —It has been proven that economies grow along rail and road lines. Having an effective VIA line brings business and residents. The alternative, without VIA, is higher unemployment, declining real estate values and wealth, increased property taxes, and a reduced standard of living.
Threat posed by road congestion — Unless we have the efficient movement of people with three popular modes — all on rails by the way: VIA, GO and subway — we will have prohibitive restrictions placed on those driving vehicles. These restrictions could include increased and expanded road tolls, restriction of driving days, restriction on driving licences issued and greater taxes on vehicle licencing and taxes.
We are urging you to speak to Jim Flaherty and arrange a meeting with the Save VIA group in Ottawa or in St. Marys/Stratford to discuss VIA and what may be done to make VIA more viable.
In addition, we would like provision for private citizens to be able to attend Question Period in September, be recognized as VIA supporters from their specific areas and, on the same day, have their respective MPs speak on the VIA issue on their behalf.
We understand supporting “the team.” However, when the government is moving in a direction that will cause harm to the Canadian economy, it is time for all MPs to speak up!
We wait to hear from you!
Chris West, Save VIA committee