Mr. Speaker, rail is an important part of the transportation mix in our country.
It is important to remember that VIA Rail is a money-losing enterprise. That means every time it has a line that lacks significant demand, the cost to the taxpayer goes up. The proportional benefit to the people VIA is meant to serve goes down. That is why VIA has made the decision to prioritize lines that have greater traffic and to find savings in lines that do not.
These are difficult decisions, but they are important because we do live in a world of finite resources. A dollar spent in one place cannot be spent somewhere else. When a train line runs to a destination where traffic levels are not high enough, the costs associated with serving that under-subscribed line have to come from other services elsewhere.
In order to prioritize the finite moneys that it has, VIA is working to provide excellent and continued service in the places where the largest number of people can benefit. This is the basis for the decisions that VIA has made.
In the future we will continue to work toward a more efficient and faster VIA Rail service so Canadians will use VIA in larger numbers and the crown corporation can generate the necessary revenues to serve more people at a lower cost to Canadian taxpayers. That is the plan and we have made significant investments in increasing the speed and efficiency of these trains in order to fulfill that plan.