On April 24, 2015, the House of Commons, voting on party lines, defeated private members Bill C-640, known as the VIA Rail Canada Act. The bill received unanimous consent by the NDP, Liberal and Green parties, Bloc Quebecois and Forces et Democratie, plus two independents. However, the Conservative majority and two former Conservatives who now sit as Independents voted against it.
This Bill drew heavily on the Amtrak working example in the U.S. and a previous bill that another Conservative government introduced in Parliament in 1986. It would have established VIA’s mandate, rights and obligations in legislation. Transport Action Ontario has long seen such an act as a vital component in establishing a modern intercity passenger rail service in Canada. The proposed bill would have met many of the required legislative needs.
Our media release on this matter can be viewed here: TAO VIA Rail Act Release 2015-04-30