MP Eglinski Addresses Blocked Railway Crossings
October 26, 2017
OTTAWA: On October 25th, Jim Eglinski, Member of Parliament for Yellowhead, took part in debate on Bill C-49, Transportation Modernization Act, which would substantially amend 13 different Acts and have consequential impacts on three modes of transportation: air, rail, and water.
Bill C-49 is in response to the Canada Transportation Act Review, which was initiated by previous Conservative Minister Emerson in 2014. The Review looked ahead 20 to 30 years to identify priorities and potential actions in transportation that would support Canada’s long-term economic well-being.
“The Emerson Report was submitted to the Minister almost 18 months ago and provided the Government of Canada with 60 recommendations,” stated MP Eglinski. “Unfortunately, the Liberals decided to launch another consultation process and only just tabled the legislation this year.”
He acknowledged that there were some good aspects of the Bill, but felt that it missed the mark in a few areas.
“A concern I have that was not addressed in this omnibus bill is the length of trains that are now running in Canada,” said MP Eglinski. He explained that the longer trains block rail crossings in communities across the riding, causing delays as long as an hour.
“When it does that, people from the other side of that track cannot get into town. We have had ambulances stranded and emergency situations. We keep bringing this up with CN, but we do not see changes,” he argued, stating that Bill C-49 missed an opportunity to resolve the issue which affects communities across the country.
MP Eglinski also critiqued amendments in the Bill that would allow port authorities and their subsidiaries to receive loans and loan guarantees from the Canada Infrastructure Bank. He expressed concern over the new bank, arguing that it will only provide funding to projects worth 100 million dollars or more, virtually guaranteeing that rural communities across Canada won’t qualify.
“[W]hat about the small communities like Edson, the city of Fort St. John, small cities across this country that are looking for infrastructure money to assist them in their infrastructure needs? . . . If large amounts of money go to seaports and major infrastructure in bigger cities, the smaller communities will be left out,” concluded MP Eglinski
To read the speech and find more information on Bill C-49, visit the House Publications page at: www.ourcommons.ca/en.