Sir John A. showed the way.

He might have been a drunk, but he had vision. He saw a nation across the top of North America brought together with bands of steel. Sir John A. Macdonald saw trains running from coast to coast of a country growing strong and free.

And it could be the belief in that vision that is leading Bombardier to sell off its commuter jet business and concentrate on the company’s expertise on transportation that runs on steel tracks. In a country seeking to lower carbon emissions, high-speed electric trains can challenge air travel. Fast electric commuter trains can challenge the automobile. Modern streetcars, light rail and subways can move people in our congested cities.

From early errors in supplying Toronto with streetcars and Canadian National Railways with trains, Bombardier is learning its trade. With operations in Europe and Asia, the Canadian transportation company has over 40,000 employees building high-speed transportation systems. With 7000 employees in China alone, it is building urban mass transit systems for that rapidly modernizing country and is bringing home constant improvements in efficiency and design. It is ready for the challenges of Canada’s winters that beset the early experience with Turbo trains. We are ready for the corridors and networks of trains that can serve Canadians into the 22nd Century.

But our real concern must be for the politicians with the vision of Sir John A. The challenge must be the willingness to commit the effort, the monies, the labour and the belief in our country’s future.

We can start immediately with just the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor. And then extend it to Quebec City and Windsor, Fredericton and Winnipeg, the Saskatoon and Edmonton leg with the Regina and Calgary legs and the cross corridors for the provinces. It is not a simple path, but a network that can serve a nation.

And it will take more people. It can only be accomplished over the current century through the determination of millions of people who understand the vision of Sir John A.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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