Conservative candidate Bryan Hayes has a bit of explaining to do. Since the beginning of this election campaign, he has touted his involvement in the rescue of the ACR rail and subsequently defended the actions he took to try and save it from being shut down.
It is true that Mr. Hayes worked with stakeholders to try and resolve the problem of service cancellation. However, there are a few questions around the subsidy cancellation that Mr. Hayes has yet to answer. He owes it to his constituents to answer for the situation we now find ourselves in with service now completely halted. The questions Mr. Hayes should answer are as follows:
1. Mr. Hayes knew about the subsidy cancellation in November 2013, yet no announcement was made to the public until the end of January 2014. Why was there a two month delay in announcing the subsidy cancellation to the public? What steps was Mr. Hayes taking during those two months to try and resolve this issue?
2. Surely Mr. Hayes must have had an idea that his government was planning on cancelling the subsidy prior to November 2013. What action did Mr. Hayes take before the November decision to try and lobby for the people of Sault Ste. Marie and area and their rail service? What actions did he take to try and dissuade the government from cutting this subsidy?
If Mr. Hayes lobbied for the rail service subsidy as he said he did, why then in January 2014 in a Sault Star article did Mr. Hayes state the following:
“My preference is for CN to continue the service at their own expense but before I push for anything, I need to understand the economic impact of this service being shut down.” – Bryan Hayes, Sault Star, January 28 2014.
If Mr. Hayes was actively lobbying to preserve the subsidy before the November decision or the two months leading up to the public announcement in January, would it have not made sense that he know the economic impacts of shutting down the rail service? Should he not have been aware of this information and presenting it to the Minister of Transportation during his lobbying efforts to try and save the service before the decision was made?
As our MP at the time, Mr. Hayes is accountable to the residents who have been affected by the rail service shutdown. Due to Mr. Hayes’ early inaction on this file, we have seen the economic impacts of the service shutdown. We have property owners that are not able to access their properties or properly winterize them. The Sault and area has suffered without this important service.
As MP, it is one’s job to lobby on behalf of the constituents that you represent. Furthermore, it is important to do so early enough so that issues may be resolved, rather than waiting until it’s too late. As your MP, I can guarantee you that I will be working my hardest and doing my best to represent and fight for your interests. I will not be caught in the eleventh hour without the proper information I need to act early.