FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JANUARY 18, 2016
Save VIA’s message to Canadians: “Ask your MP”
ST. MARYS, ONTARIO – Save VIA is kicking off the fourth phase of its campaign for better rail passenger service with the release of three locally-produced videos to encourage citizens to ask their elected officials some timely questions about the future of VIA.
“We’ve got a new government in Ottawa that has inherited the responsibility for making VIA the modern rail service it has always needed to be,” says Save VIA’s Chris West. “Now is the time for all Canadians who want to see that modernization and expansion occur to respectfully reach out to their newly-elected representatives. Our new videos are designed to encourage them to do just that in an informed way.”
Produced for Save VIA by Sunspot Media of Stratford, the three videos feature St. Marys residents Anna Ferguson, Erin Emm and Robin Ward.
The three thought-provoking videos may be viewed on the new Save VIA YouTube channel at:
Two of the videos are directed at the federal government, asking why VIA has the oldest fleet in the industrialized world and why the publicly-owned corporation gets such a shabby deal from Canada’s freight railways.“
The third video is directed to Queen’s Park,” says West. “The Ontario government is just beginning a long and expensive process to build its own high-speed passenger railway between Toronto and Windsor. If it’s ever built, it will cost taxpayers billions and it will bypass St. Marys, Stratford, Woodstock and several other important points in the existing VIA Southwestern Ontario system. We think citizens should be asking their MPPs for an explanation of what we view as an expensive pie-in-the-sky scheme and why the province is not partnering with Ottawa to jointly improve the existing VIA service.”
As well, Save VIA will be reaching out directly to MPs, MPPs and municipal politicians throughout Southwestern Ontario in the coming months to suggest ways to improve the region’s rail passenger service in the quickest and most cost-effective manner.
Says West, “The time is ripe for us – and for the public – to engage with the politicians. Our new federal government has committed to tackling climate change, addressing Canada’s accumulated infrastructure deficit and boosting our economic prospects by making us a more accessible and interconnected nation. As we will be pointing out to them, improving and expanding VIA is a logical way to take action on all those issues.”
West notes that initial contact with several new MPs has been most encouraging and has demonstrated they are both familiar with the VIA situation and interested in delving into it further. Key opposition MPs – who have previously supported Save VIA’s aims and objectives – are also voicing their determination to make VIA an issue in Parliament in 2016.
“VIA needs real and sustainable improvement now,” says West. “This fourth phase of the Save VIA campaign will convey that need to those who can take action. It’s our intention to make that case with the politicians, whether that be in their ridings, at Queen’s Park or on Parliament Hill. Our chances for success have never been greater now that we’re dealing with so many elected officials who understand the importance of this issue.
“As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on election night, ‘In Canada, better is always possible.’ Fixing VIA is a perfect way to demonstrate that – and that’s the case we’ll be making.”
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
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BOX 1197 449 QUEEN STREET WEST ST. MARYS, ONTARIO N4X 1B7 TELEPHONE (519) 284-3310 FACSIMILE (519) 284-3160