Ministerial Question Period: High-Frequency Rail Service

By: The Hon. Pierre Dalphond

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Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: Welcome to the Senate, minister. This anticipated Quebec City-Toronto high frequency rail project has been in the news. You announced it on the train that I take regularly, so I’m pleased to see that this project is finally being started. I hope that it will be completed before I retire so I have the opportunity to take it.

In any event, minister, have you planned for the participation of provincial and municipal authorities in this massive project? All the route changes required for a rail system that is more frequent, efficient and attractive than travel by automobile or plane must be coordinated.

Mr. Alghabra: Thank you for your question, senator.

Indeed, this is going to be a massive and complicated project that will need to involve provincial governments, municipal governments and Indigenous communities. For example, we’ll have to negotiate with municipalities about access to their downtown cores for the trains to stop there.

So there is still a lot of work that needs to happen. It is going to be complicated, as large projects of this scope tend to be. However, it is exciting to be involved in this work, because for decades, Canadians have heard governments talk about it; now, they’re seeing work being done.

Unfortunately, it takes time, because of everything involved in such a project. There is no magic button to push where we’ll find that such a project has materialized in front of us tomorrow. Like you, I hope I can use it before I retire, but we’re going to follow the process and we’re going to make sure that it is built, senator.

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