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Air Rail Link P3: War Pigs Profit off Public

by PJ Lilley

You’d think with the high gas prices these days that politicians might start to consider working families will increasingly need better public transit options. This makes sense to us, and when we heard the GO Train might expand and improve service to our neighborhood, we were initially pretty excited.

Then we discovered that the Liberals (Federal and Provincial governments) and GO Transit are moving along quickly with their proposal to use public money to build a high speed rail link that will be privately owned and operated. According to the plans, it won’t even stop in our area, AND it’ll cost a person $20 one way to breeze through here from downtown out to the airport.

A subsidiary of SNC Lavalin won the P3 deal (public-private-partnership) which would route along some existing GO train tracks. The ‘Blue 22’ is the proposed private train, connecting the downtown with the airport, exclusively for business travelers. In the neighborhoods of Weston, Mount Denis, and the Junction, many people are concerned about the environmental damage wrought by the new routings, the speed and number of trains — which won’t service these areas – and of course, the desperate lack of public study or debate on the plan.

Besides the controversial Highway 407 (which is by now widely considered to have been a huge public rip-off), SNC Lavalin has its snout in several other public money troughs. In Vancouver, it’s won a bid for another Air-Rail Link between Richmond and Vancouver airport worth millions.

Transit isn’t SNC’s only interest however. This huge multinational is also a major war profiteer, part of a consortium selling bullets made in Canada to the US military, (as well as local cops and 70% of all Canadian armed forces ammunition.) These bullets are used in Iraq - bullets that are killing and wounding thousands of innocent people. The US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq has already killed more than 100,000 civilians and continues to destroy Iraqi lives. SNC’s International arm also has several highly profitable contracts with direct interests in the occupations of Haiti, Afghanistan and Palestine. And, of course, SNC is one of the federal Liberal Party’s top 10 donors, so clearly, the push for “public-private partnerships” is really working for them.

But where does that leave the rest of us? We are stuck between the price gouging at the gas pumps and the rising costs of the slow bus service — which takes us over an hour just to get downtown when the train can do it in 11 minutes. We want to see the end of the war and occupations and all the profiteering that comes along with it. And, we want eco-friendly, non-profit, public transportation systems accessible to working families!

For more info, or to back the petition to Labour Council against BLUE 22, go to