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Dear Friends of Clean Trains,
Many residents along the Georgetown Corridor, specifically between Liberty Village and Weston, are under the impression that we have won the battle on electrification - that they are planning to immediately start electrifying the GO system, starting with the Air Rail Link (ARL) and the Georgetown Corridor - and that we don't need to fight for it anymore. This is completely false and we are taking this opportunity to "debunk the myth."
What Metrolinx is NOT advertising is that their claimed earliest date for ARL electrification is at least 7 to 9 years in the future. Or it could be longer. In real terms, it means that there is NO CHANGE to their plans to build the ARL with diesel engines for the start of service in 2015!
Electrification of the line is NOT a given and we still need to press for it to happen. The Pan Am Games, a 2-week event, is just not enough of a reason to go ahead and build a line that will end up costing us more financially and with our health.
Under intense pressure from the Clean Train Coalition and others, Metrolinx has finally acknowledged that electric trains are not only superior in many ways but are also less expensive than diesels. Despite this, the provincial government is still insisting that we need to rush to build a diesel-powered service prior to the Pan Am Games in 2015! They say they will electrify the line later, but there are no firm promises nor dates given. And electrifying later will result in a $400-million-plus penalty to taxpayers!
This is a waste of time and money. We continue to insist that they should build smart regional rail RIGHT the first time. Build the ARL as electric from the start or wait until it can be built right the first time!
Please tell everyone you know that the public is being misled. We must all spread the word that electrification for the start of service is STILL not happening.
JOIN OUR FIGHT
The federal election is May 2. Even though this is a provincial project, the federal parties and government still have some clout in this issue. So ask your federal candidates what they have done to help us and what they will do in the future to help convince the federal government to get involved to help make sure it gets built right the first time.
It is really the provincial government (Premier McGuinty) who can direct Metrolinx to build this line electric from start of service. Your MPP needs to hear from YOU about this failure to GO ELECTRIC! We'll also have to raise this issue in the coming provincial election in October.
We are currently restructuring and revitalizing to fight these myths and lies. Anyone who knows the history of this project knows that this will be a difficult battle. We are fighting a stubborn provincial government which is insisting on building this project the wrong way. We are in this fight for the long-term until we win our goal of getting clean electric rail through all our neighbourhoods. We have not yet won. Your help is needed now more than ever.
Some areas we are looking for help:
We also want to make sure there are members of the public present at every Metrolinx board meeting to make sure they know we're out there and watching them. Anyone is welcome to attend. Their next meeting is on Thursday, April 28, at 8:30 a.m. at 20 Bay St., 6th floor. If you have time to attend, we invite you to let us know. Send us an email if you have any questions about it.
And of course, we can always use donations for upcoming actions. Please go to www.cleantrain.ca and donate whatever you can.
We will be arranging a general meeting at some point in the future but it's still to be scheduled.
Please email us at [email protected] to get involved. CONTACT INFO FOR PROVINCIAL POLITICIANS
Hon. DALTON MCGUINTY
Premier, Province of Ontario
Rm 281, Legislative Building, Queens Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Tel: (416) 325-1941 Fax: 416-325-3745
Hon. KATHLEEN WYNNE
Minister of Transportation
Ferguson Block 3rd Floor
77 Wellesley St W
Toronto ON M7A1Z8
LAURA ALBANESE, MPP
Unit 102 - 2301 Keele St
Toronto ON M6M 3Z9
Tel: (416) 243-7984 Fax: (416) 243-0327
TONY RUPRECHT, MPP
1359 Davenport Road
Toronto ON M6H 2H5
Tel: (416) 535-3158 Fax: (416) 325-9961
In this email:
- Setting the record straight (a response to Gerard Kennedy's quotes in a recent article)
- Federal election update
- CTC 2nd Anniversary Railbender - SAVE THE DATE - Mon May 16 at the Gladstone
Setting the record straight
Some of you may have read the recent Toronto Life online article about the federal race in Parkdale-High Park. http://www.torontolife.com/daily/informer/battleground-toronto/2011/04/18/gerrard-kennedy-versus-peggy-nash-in-parkdale-high-park-the-huggiest-grudge-match-ever/#more-65806
In this article, Gerard Kennedy was quoted as saying "... the local movement, the couple or three ridings, have been taken over by the NDP and used for partisan purposes.” Kennedy says he’s had a hard time trying to get groups like the Clean Train Coalition to give him the time of day, much less the time to speak. “When I went to a meeting and asked for a chance to speak, they tried to give me one minute.”
The Clean Train Coalition would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
People across all the communities affected have put in hours and hours of hard work for years to learn about this issue and try to get the word out. Over half the founding members of the Coalition are first-time activists and not formally affiliated with any party. Some members do have specific party associations, but those who do are affiliated with various parties, inluding the Liberals, the Conservatives, and the Green Party.
The important fact is that the Clean Train Coalition is a grassroots, non-partisan group. We believe that criticism suggesting otherwise is a way for the provincial McGuinty government to dismiss this important issue. Local NDP elected officials and candidates have picked up on our message, for which we are grateful, but it is equally true that the Conservatives have publicly expressed support for this issue. We have also had support from other federal and provincial Liberals. We welcome support from anyone who wants to fight for our cause because it is the right thing to do for our communities.
We believe Mr. Kennedy's reference to the "one minute" meeting was actually a demonstration to which Mr. Kennedy had been invited (along with other corridor politicians) but from whom we had not received a response. So when he arrived at the event in the middle of the program, he had to be squeezed into the queue at the last minute by allowing him a very short speech.
Federal election update
Wow! A big thanks to all of you for keeping the electrification issue top of mind in the run-up to the May 2 vote. If this is how successful we are at making this an issue in a federal election campaign, imagine how much more of an issue it will be in the upcoming provincial election this fall!
The Clean Train Coalition will continue to focus on convincing the provincial government to make the smart choice by expanding rail traffic in the west end with electric trains. The most important voice in this debate is that of Torontonians and residents along the corridor. Thank you all for your continued support to help make this cause an important issue with all politicians.
'CTC 2nd Anniversary Railbender - Monday, May 16 @ the Gladstone!
Well, the federal election's going to be over soon and we figure you're either going to want to celebrate, or else drown your sorrows...
Either way, what better reason to "get electrified" and celebrate the great work of the Clean Train Coalition, plus launch a brand new report on electrification of rail in Toronto, co-sponsored by Transport Action Ontario and the CTC and written by CTC member and veteran of Canada's rail and transit industries, Greg Gormick.
We'd like to thank you all for the hard work we've done so far. More information will be sent out later, but save the date: Monday, May 16, 7-10 p.m. in the Melody Bar at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen.
One more thing...