VANCOUVER – Five years after the Campbell government broke a key campaign promise and sold B.C. Rail in a deal tainted by corruption, Interior communities are left with uncertainty about the future of their freight rail service, said New Democrat attorney general critic Leonard Krog .
“Tomorrow marks the fifth anniversary of the sale’s final agreement, and CN will then have the right to abandon parts of the rail line or to neglect the line to the point of it being no longer usable,” said Krog. “It also gives them the right to buy railway lands – which may include prime properties – for a dollar.”
Krog noted that railway service has for decades been a vital link between resource-dependent communities and their markets, with forestry-dependent communities in particular relying on rail to transport their products.
“The loss of rail service could be a devastating blow to communities from North Vancouver to Dease Lake who rely on it to transport products to and from markets,” said Krog.
Krog called on the premier to immediately release the full contract so communities know what rights they have.
“The full contract has never been made public. The Campbell government reluctantly released part of the deal in 2004 while the premier was out of the country, but the full text remains hidden,” said Krog.
“If CN exercises its rights under the contract and stops running trains on some of rail lines, thousands of jobs in the Interior may be put at risk. Communities in the Interior deserve to know whether their rail service will be disrupted after the five-year anniversary of the sale of B.C. Rail.”
Carole James and the New Democrats are calling on Gordon Campbell to come clean and release the full deal immediately.