Council Throws Support Behind Passenger Rail Campaign

April 5, 2013, 5:00 PM EST

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CAW Council delegates voted unanimously in favour of supporting a national campaign to stop further government cutbacks to VIA Rail, Canada's public passenger rail service.

Various elected workplace leaders representing the rail sector of the union spoke in favour of the recommendation.

CAW Local 4003 President Frank Consiglio called the steady decline in both operational and capital funding for VIA's cross-country services "totally unacceptable."

"We can't allow government to dismantle our hard fought gains we've made in developing passenger rail service," Consiglio said.

CAW Assistant to the President Bob Orr said the inevitable result of VIA funding cuts is fewer travel options, especially for those living in more remote communities, calling that patently unfair.

CAW Council 4000 Secretary-Treasurer Heather Grant said that chronic underfunding of VIA services has led to looming fears of privatization - a move that would strip passenger rail from public hands and democratic decision-making.

"We have to fight back now and forever, in the face of privatization," Grant said.

The recommendation, introduced by CAW President Ken Lewenza in his opening address on April 5, urges the federal government to re-invest in "top-quality passenger rail services, including high-speed rail in high-density areas."

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