If you want to know more about what it will take to bring passenger rail service back to Northern Ontario, tonight’s your chance.
The Rally for Rail is being held in the auditorium at the McIntyre Community Centre May 29 from 7 – 8:30 p.m.
“Tonight’s meeting is basically to make people aware of how important their vote is and the questions they should ask the candidates. Because it’s not a question of just putting rail and passenger cars together, it’s a question of how the government will make it happen and how the mandates will look after, when and where and how much,” said Lucille Frith, a spokesperson for Northern and Eastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN). “It’s a process meeting more than anything to explain how government works a little bit.”
The rally is a follow up to the passenger rail summit held last month in Sault Ste. Marie, which Frith said laid out the social and economic reasons for passenger rail travel in Northern Ontario.
With Ontarians heading to the polls June 7, she said people should be asking the candidates if they believe northern Ontario residents and businesses should have passenger rail.
“The infrastructure is there it’s a question of the will of the government to prioritize northern residents the same as they do southern residents. We’re not asking for high-speed rail up here, we’re asking for a train,” she said.
While they're encouraging people to ask questions of the candidates, the group isn’t endorsing a party.
“We are not advocating for a specific party, we are simply identifying what needs to happen in order to get the government will. Because it’s a publicly-funded facility, investment by the government is necessary to offset the operating costs and the capital cost,” she said.
The formal presentation at the meeting will take about 30-35 minutes. There is also time afterwards for people to ask questions.
Similar meetings are being held across the north, with one in Englehart last night drawing more than 100 people.
A rally is also being held in Cochrane Wednesday, May 30 from 7 - 8:30 p.m. at the Tim Hortons Event Centre Community Hall.
You can also learn more about NEORN here.