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Marc Garneau responds to questions  around transportation




MYRTLE MACDONALD, B.Sc., U of Alberta, M.Sc.A., McGill University, Author FILE PHOTO



Dear Ms. Macdonald:

Thank you for your correspondence of August 15, 2017, regarding transportation, climate change and the environment.

A key priority of mine is to support the development of a clean, efficient and low-carbon transportation system. Transportation is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada, and reducing emissions by all modes of transportation is critical to meeting Canada’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.

A broad range of strategies will be required, including supporting the development and deployment of low carbon solutions, and influencing the decisions that Canadians make every day in their transportation choices. This could involve taking advantage of more efficient modes of transportation, such as rail, and also reducing emissions within each mode by improving the efficiency of engines and operations, and using alternative, low-carbon fuels.

In December 2016, the federal and provincial governments released the Pan-Canadian Framework (PCF) on Clean Growth and Climate Change.  This framework lays out a plan to grow the Canadian economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to a changing climate.  The PCF is built on four pillars: pricing carbon pollution; taking action to reduce emissions in each sector of the economy; adapting to climate change; and supporting clean technologies, innovation and jobs.  The PCF also supports the shift from higher to lower-emitting modes of transportation through investing in infrastructure and optimizing freight corridors.

These actions and initiatives demonstrate that the government is committed to addressing climate change and helping Canada’s transition to a clean, low carbon future.  For more information on the PCF, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/weather/climatechange/pan-canadian-framework.html.

Thank you again for sharing your ideas.

Yours sincerely,
The Honourable Marc Garneau


From Myrtle Macdonald to Marc Garneau

Here is a lot of reliable info.  Please take time to read and think it through.


I am Continuing to Urge Federal Support ASAP for the Following: 


1.  So that women will not have to hitch hike, get abducted and

go missing: federal funding for regular, adequate, affordable transportation service in all rural areas. Buses help but tickets are expensive and bus travel is irregular and unpleasant. 



2.  Federal funding for Railway lines rather than for Highways because:


• Capital costs and maintenance of highways are far greater. Widening and adding of more lanes and bridges is costly.


• Buses need replacement every 5 or 8 years.  Train carriages last thirty years or more.


• In European countries slow and fast passenger and freight trains are easily scheduled on the same tracks.



3.  Railways do not pollute the air and land like buses do.  Many operate on non-fossil fuels. 


• There is rapid development of alternate fuels in China and European countries.


• Highway #1 in southern British Columbia has rush hour day and night 7 days a week. 


Income from tourists has dropped because smog hides the beautiful mountain scenery.   


• Vast amounts of money have gone into maintaining and widening the highways and bridges. 


• Vancouver, Seattle and Tacoma air pollution is blown and sucked up this valley and


These city people do not realize there is increasing suffering and illness up the Fraser Valley from all chronic diseases due to their use of fossil fuels and carbons. Therefore:



4.  Please greatly increase funding to develop Solar, Wind, Geothermal and other Alternate Fuels.


• European countries have made remarkable, exemplary progress.  Several have already largely replaced fossil fuel with alternate fuels. 


• Why has Canada fallen behind??


• China is making great progress producing solar energy and soon will not need large amounts of Alberta Crude oil and coal. 


• The Kinder Morgan Federal plans are under way to expropriate land from small fruit and vegetable farmers, indigenous sacred sites and Burnaby city.  This is to triple the diameter of pipe lines to export crude oil.  There are many indigenous nations.  Only a minority approve, hoping they will get jobs.


• The amount of oil tankers in BC Coastal waters would increase seven fold. Even with only a three fold increase, the amount of oil, noise and human sewage pollution in the harbors will vastly increase.


• There have been many pipeline and ship oil spills.  The Federal Government does the coastal protection, but must provide more ships and staff, so as not always to arrive too late to clean up oil spills, before the oil sinks deep, and before birds and water mammals are killed.  The Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 is not cleaned up yet.


• When are you going to require ships to stop putting raw human sewage into the ocean?



5.  The Prime Minister can save face yet serve our Economy and Health by stopping the enlarging of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline. 


Just make sure the present pipes are safe and all corroded parts are replaced. 


To expropriate land and sacred sites from some indigenous nations is unjust. 


Other indigenous nations that want jobs, do not have the right to vote for larger pipe lines against the wishes of those who say no. 


Burnaby and many other city people oppose larger pipe lines also.


6. Inform all Health Care Ministries (Federal, Provincial and Regional) that reduction of air, water, land, petrol and plastic pollution



• Will promote health and reduce treatment costs for acute and chronic diseases, especially respiratory, cardiac, arthritic and cancer.


• With these savings more RN nurses, Anaesthetists and Physiotherapists could be hired,


• Thus reducing wait time for surgery and improving rehabilitation.



7. Inform Municipal Governments that Federal funding is available for safe level crossings for passenger and freight trains.


• What other federal funding is available to municipal and regional districts? 


• Many newly elected Mayors and Councils are naïve, but are sure their ideas are superior to those of previous politicians.


8.  Announce funding to assist provincial governments to restart former passenger service on existing railway lines.


• Take time to learn how this has been done with great success and low cost in many European countries. 


The Leewood Proposal for passenger light rail south of the Fraser River from Chilliwack to New Westminster, connecting with the sky train in Surrey at Scott Road station, near Pattullo bridge. From 1910 to 1950 the interurban passenger rail (BC Electric Railway) made 4 or 5 round trips a day and was popular.  Only when gasoline and family cars became affordable for everybody, did passenger service stop.  The rail line has continued in good condition for heavy freight.  BC Hydro owns the right of way.  The route runs through farm land from Hope to Langley, near 5 university campuses, hospitals, Abbotsford airport and several shopping areas. 


The Leewoood Proposal planned in detail the upgrading of the 98 km route at a cost half a billion dollars, in 2010, based on 20 minute service daily. The proposal is still valid.  The cost would still be under three-quarter billion dollars.


The new Surrey mayor plans a sky train for about 10 km, costing several billions of dollars and serving only a small portion of the Surrey population.  MP Dianne Watts, former Mayor of Surrey was in favor of the Leewood proposal, and planned to add two more light rail/tram lines. Other BC mayors approved.


Chilliwack mayors did not approve because they thought that would turn Chilliwack into a bedroom community for commuters.  That has happened anyway and there is rush hour grid lock on Hwy # 1, day and night 7 days a week. 


Numerous short Transit systems in Metro Vancouver have cost vast billions of dollars. Often they malfunction. “Experts” seem to be beholden to fossil fuel and sky train multinationals.  See www.railforthevalley.com for frequent updates on transportation systems across Canada and Europe.


Do not approve and fund the building of another ugly sky train in Surrey and other parts of Metro Vancouver.


• It is outdated technology.  Building cement structures causes carbon pollution and expropriates and destroys nearby homes and shops. 


• Short routes of 6 or 15 km cost several billion dollars.   Much money has already been wasted to serve a small portion of the population. 


• Their speed is not as important as is claimed.  Trams can be fast too when timing of street lights is synchronized.


• Sky trains and their rolling stock are already deteriorating.  Don’t let yourselves be deceived by vested interests. 


9.  Stop neglecting small farm families who have no way to sell their fruit and vegetables. 


• They need an income all year round.  They could thrive and export frozen produce.


• At present there is no service to refrigerate and freeze locally grown, so most people buy produce from California and Mexico, always available in every grocery store at less cost, transported by huge heavy polluting trucks. 


Small farm parents and teens have to get city jobs and buy three cars or light trucks per family to get to work or college. 


10.  Refrigerated railway carriages could be designed to serve as Farmers Markets for 6 or seven markets stops per week,  buying and selling produce in each stop, and storing it for sale in subsequent stops all year round. This service could expand inter provincially.


11. Build a network of rural and urban railway lines in all rural areas of Canada, useable for both passengers and freight.  


Where the old routes are still visible, tracks could easily be laid again. 


12.  Fears about the economy are short-sighted denial.


• The Government of Canada could greatly increase industrial development and jobs especially in rural areas by provide dependable transportation on non-polluting railways.


• Then professionals will enjoy providing service in rural high schools, trade schools and colleges. 


•Then immigrants can clean away rubble in valleys, terrace hillsides, plant orchards and legumes, and make fine furniture out of trees killed by pine beetles.


The damage done in Alberta forests and rivers, by producing crude oil should be cleaned up by the oil companies with Ottawa support.


• You should gradually quickly phase out use of gasoline and invest in alternate energy especially Solar, Wind, Waves and Geothermal. 


People down stream who have cancer and other diseases caused by chemical pollution from oil production, should be supported.


I am 97-years-old and grieve because the integrity of Canadians is deteriorating. “Short-term gain is long-term pain.”  My experience resulted from working in 6 Canadian provinces and 4 countries overseas. 


As Transport Minister and because you have seen the world from space, you are privileged by the Holy Spirit to inspire renewal of vision.  Blessings,


Myrtle Macdonald

B.Sc. Nursing in Public Health and Teaching and Supervision (University of Alberta, Edmonton)

 M.Sc. Applied in Nursing, Education, Research, Anthropology and Social Sciences (McGill University, Montreal)


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