The following is a copy of a letter submitted to Perth-Wellington MP Gary Schellenberger from Chris West of the Save VIA committee.
Thank you for your letter of July 30, 2013 regarding VIA rail.
You will recall our earlier letter requesting you speak to the VIA matter in the House of Commons. To be clear, we are not asking you to present a petition. We are asking you to represent your constituents and their wishes in the house. If you reference the on line petition, you may view what your constituents are saying about VIA. Your constituents want you to speak on their behalf. We feel you have a responsibility to do so.
As you know, we see three important issues regarding VIA outlined below.
Ridership is an important issue by itself. The ridership issues are clearly enunciated by the 2450 citizens who have currently signed up. Prior to the on line petition, the letters, faxes and e mails you have received undoubtedly speak to the ridership issue.
Economic. It has been proven that economies grow along rail and road lines. Having an effective VIA line delivers 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 licenses issued and greater taxes on vehicle licensing and taxes.
Again, we are urging you to speak to Ministers Jim Flaherty, Lisa Raitt and Denis Lebel 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 MP’s 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 MP’s to speak up!
We wait to hear from you!
With respect to the “Crown Corporation” and “arms length”, we will address those issues under separate cover.
Save VIA committee