Premier Pallister must stop wasting time and start working immediately with the federal government, the City of Churchill and surrounding communities to take over the rail line to Churchill and repair it before winter makes construction impossible, NDP Labour Critic Tom Lindsey said today.
“The people of Churchill have waited long enough for this premier to recognize his responsibility to them as fellow Manitobans,” Lindsey said. “Omnitrax is refusing to fix the line and has made it clear it wants to pull out of Manitoba. The premier should stand with the people of northern Manitoba, not abandon them as Omnitrax has done.”
Omnitrax has said publicly there is a very narrow window left this summer for repairs to be completed if the line is to carry trains through the winter. It has also said neither the federal nor the provincial government has responded to its request to help it keep the line open, take it over or help another group purchase it.
“The Premier needs to come back to Manitoba today and put all of his government’s energy into finding a solution. Time is of the essence – what is the premier waiting for?” Lindsey said. “The line is an essential service and is the least expensive and most efficient way to transport people and supplies to Churchill and other isolated communities in the North.”
“If the premier and the federal government continue to pass the buck, Churchill and other northern communities will face economic disaster and residents will face great personal hardships as supplies become increasingly expensive and difficult to get,” Lindsey said