Franklin Roosevelt said it best in his 1933 inaugural address that the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That certainly helps explain the pitiful excuses from both Ottawa and Queen’s Park to again shy away from high-speed train service in the Windsor–Quebec City corridor. These so-called politicians do not serve us well.
When something is so vital to the political and economic future of our country, why are we letting it be blocked by the callow, the myopic, the self-serving and the ignorant? “It’s time for us to pause and reflect,” says Ontario Premier McGuinty in answer to questions from reporters about the high speed train service. If he had told Ontario voters that, during the recent election campaign, he would have been doing his reflecting today back in his law practice in Ottawa.
Neither Prime Minister Harper nor Ontario’s Premier understand that, in times of adversity—such as today’s economic problems—the country needs clear, non-partisan direction. It needs determined and understandable leadership, not ideology. It needs bold moves forward, not quavering inaction.
They think of high speed trains down the Windsor–Quebec City corridor as train tickets. They have little understanding of how those rails of steel can hold this country together. If they keep letting Quebec isolate itself from the rest of the country, they will never notice when it leaves. It is important to remember that the Quebec government also wants this high-speed rail service. We have to build for togetherness, not separation.
Today, we know that the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal part of the scheme is doable, economically viable and essential to our nation. The only people who will hate it are the people who own Porter Airlines.
The right of way exists, the train stations exist, the dire need exists. All this country really lacks is leadership.
And with all the electricity that the two provinces generate, the trains have to be electric as an example of Canadian engineering to the world. At 300-plus kilometres per hour, Canadians could even learn to enjoy on-time rail service
Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry
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