In their own words: What the local candidates are saying re: rail and pipelines

With a week and a half to go until Election Day, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce continues its series on what the candidates are saying with regard to issues of local business significance.   In this article are the responses to issues of passenger rail service and where the candidates stand on the Energy East Pipeline project.   Each candidate was asked to keep their responses to 500 words per question.  Captured in this article are the answers to two of the questions.  

What is your party’s position on (and why)?:

1. The Federal component of the funding to upgrade the rail line and reintroduce passenger rail service from Peterborough to Toronto.

Mike Skinner, Conservative: 
The Conservative government’s commitment of $150M towards the reestablishment of a passenger rail service still remains.  We are very willing to work with the province and the Shinning Waters Railway to continue this project along.  As the elected MP, this will be one of my primary priorities once the election is over.

Dave Nickle, NDP: The NDP has been defending VIA Rail services vigorously since the Conservatives started drastic cuts to passenger rail services in 2012. These cuts have hit Ontario especially hard.  Cutting VIA Rail services is pushing us further away from having an efficient and accessible regional rail in Ontario and is impacting our local tourism and business sectors.  

Eliminating service and driving away current and potential riders is not an acceptable way to modernize a competitive rail passenger service. These cuts did not improve VIA’s service offering nor boost its financial performance.  Reduced passenger rail service has undercut the economic stability of communities in Ontario. Reducing train service deprives Canadians of safe and affordable travel options.  VIA Rail provides a vital service and these routes have allowed our local communities to grow and prosper. Canadians travelling for business, school or recreation rely on VIA Rail to provide efficient, affordable and accessible services.  It’s shameful that Conservatives are cutting services so recklessly.

Only the NDP has stood up to propose legislation to mandate minimum service levels and an NDP Government will make it a priority to invest in efficient, safe and sustainable passenger rail services.

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: I fully support the proposed upgrade of the rail line between Havelock and the GTA. The availability of an upgraded and well maintained freight line is critical to maintaining and attracting new industry to our region. Businesses such as Quaker Oats and Unimin Mines depend on the ability to move product to and from the GTA. The Federal and Provincial governments have set aside funding in their fiscal
frameworks for these projects and work should begin as soon as possible.

I support the re-establishment of passenger rail service from Peterborough to Toronto as long as there is a realistic and comprehensive business plan that demonstrates that such a service is financially viable, and will not result in local taxpayers having to take on new financial obligations.

2. The Energy East pipeline project which, if approved by the National Energy Board, will bring 250 new jobs to Peterborough’s GE large motor plant.

Dave Nickle, NDP:  Canada’s natural resources are a tremendous gift and, managed properly and sustainably, can be important drivers for our economy.  Refining Canadian oil in Canada makes sense – but we need to ensure that a strong environmental review regime is in place to determine if projects like Energy East are safe and sustainable before they can proceed.  Unfortunately, the Conservatives have systematically dismantled environmental assessments and limited public input into major project reviews, meaning that a rigorous and credible assessment just isn’t possible under these circumstances. An NDP government will strengthen the environmental assessment regime to restore public confidence and ensure that the public interest and our environment are protected.

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: I believe our long term goal must be to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for energy production. As a party, Liberals are committed to working with the Provinces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop green-energy sources and encourage sustainable consumption practices. 

TransCanada describes their Energy East Project as a proposed $12 billion 4,600 km-long pipeline that will carry 1.1-million barrels of unrefined oil sands crude oil per day. It would run west-to-east from Alberta to existing refineries and new terminals in Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick. 

In the short and medium term, I support the need for Canada to invest in new infrastructure, including pipelines, to move our energy resources to domestic and global markets. The risks involved in moving petroleum products by rail need to be mitigated and safer options employed. I support a robust regulatory review process. Such a process needs to provide independent and scientifically-based analysis. The overall review and decision process needs to incorporate key principals that include:


  • Building public trust
  • Consulting with and addressing the concerns of local communities
  • Respecting Aboriginal rights, and
  • Not placing our lands, waterways or ecosystems at risk. 


Mike Skinner, Conservative: 
The Energy East pipeline project which, if approved by the National Energy Board, will bring 250 new jobs to Peterborough’s GE large motor plant and 4,200 to the province of Ontario.  An elected conservative government supports this pipeline.  Today over 600,000 barrels of oil are delivered to the Province of Ontario via Rail or Truck, a pipeline will increase the safety and efficiency of this oil being delivered to Ontario.

Next week the Peterborough Chamber will post the answers from the candidates on the following question: “What is your personal statement to the Peterborough business community?”

Find the candidate answers on the Federal Election 2015 page of  the Chamber website

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.


Be Informed:

The federal election involves many issues affecting the business community, from the economy to job creation to taxes to innovation and access to new markets, capital and a skilled workforce.

Learn more about what the parties are saying.   

Also on the webpage, more from:



With the new riding boundaries in effect for this election, there are links to Elections Canada.  There you can find out where to vote, when the advance polls are open, and ensure you are on the voters list.  

Election Day is Monday, October 19, 2015.  

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