Planes, Trains and Trucks.

If you listen to some analysts, it would seem that Canada’s economy is based on airlines. That was a mistake that came down to us because of the Second World War. In putting Canada on a war footing, the ubiquitous DC-3 aircraft took responsibility for high-speed travel while railways became the drudge and trucks were relegated to regional needs. It is a pattern that has held Canada back since, in terms of both inter-provincial trade and relations.

While the U.S.A. launched that country’s inter-state highway network back in the Eisenhower era, it is seriously working today on networking 200+ mph electric trains.

And frankly, Ontario and Quebec residents are tired of the continued talk of ‘studying’ the needs in the Quebec city-to-Toronto corridor. Just electrifying the GO Train system in Ontario could go a long way to speeding up that service and accommodating more passengers. Less pollution would be a bonus.

But, if anything could kick-start the Canadian economy after the pandemic, it would be building the infrastructure and rolling stock needed for high-speed trains. Such an ambitious project could take 20 years to complete just the first phase. And it could be the major project that brings us quickly out of any downturns after covid-19 is beaten.

What guarantees us a downturn when the pandemic is done? The economy has taken its hits. It has nowhere to go but up.

The choice is very simple. We can be frightened by the bogeyman of debt or we can work to put it behind us. It will not be a question as to whether we can afford it? The question is can we afford not to?

There is no question that we will still need airlines for intercontinental travel. It would make sense for the federal government to nationalize Air Canada. That way they can be integrated instead of competitors.

The real challenge that faces us is where is the leadership our country needs to take up the challenge. And are our fellow Canadians willing to support the type of leadership we need? We need vision. We need to believe. The country is worth it. Are we?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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