Hughes makes 11th hour impassioned plea on ACR passenger trains

Ottawa –  Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MPCarol Hughes will not let passenger services on the ACR go quietly into the night, and is forcing the government to stay up late to defend their wrong-headed decision to cut the subsidy that kept trains rolling and their spotty communications efforts with the working group that have found a third party operator.

Despite an emergency debate in the House of Commons that pushed Hughes’ Adjournment Debate past midnight, the MP admonished the government for endangering a big part of Northern Ontario tourism infrastructure and an important transportation link for towns on the route that runs from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst.

“Tuesday of next week has everything it takes to be a black day in northern Ontario if the government continues to drag its feet on a proposal to save passenger services on the Algoma Central Railway,” said Hughes. “Despite no end of lead time and the diligent efforts of the working group to find a third party deemed acceptable by CN, the government will not even offer a signal of intent on the proposal to wean the service off the subsidy in only five years.”

Hughes said the lack of communication is the most frustrating part of the process and reminded the government this isn’t just about investment in the region, but is about people’s livelihoods and the well-being of communities that rely of the service.

“There are work-arounds that aren’t even being explored and the lack of creativity from the government on this is disheartening for people waiting to see if they will be able to transport guests to their businesses, get to their camp, or even make their way from their small town to a larger one for something as simple as doctor’s appointments,” said Hughes.

Hughes told the government they will be seen as responsible if the trains stop running.

“People in Northern Ontario are patient, but they have long memories and deserve much better,” said Hughes. “Will the government make this a priority and do something to ensure that passenger services on the ACR are maintained?”