Wayne Stetski, NDP Member of Parliament for Kootenay Columbia, recently rose in the House of Commons to question Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Liberals’ promised funding to cover public transit gaps since Greyhound stopped operating in the region last fall.
When Greyhound announced it was leaving Western Canada last year, Stetski said people in rural B.C. worried how they would get from town to town.
“Greyhound Canada was a lifeline to these communities, providing a safe way to get from point A to point B for people from a variety of different backgrounds, said Stetski. “This loss was extremely hard for low- income people, seniors and other vulnerable populations. In rural communities, resources are limited, so people often need this service to travel to access medical and social services elsewhere.”
Bus services play a crucial role in rural B.C., such as helping people access addiction treatment services or shelters for women fleeing violence. Bus services also provide essential courier services for small businesses in remote and rural regions of the province. On the eve of Greyhound’s departure, the Liberal government announced it would provide funding to temporarily help cover service gaps.
At the time of the announcement, Transport Minister Marc Garneau did not specify how much funding would be available. Nearly three months after the announcement, the Trudeau Liberals have still yet to provide details on how they will help to re-establish bus routes and service gaps remain.
Here is the complete text of MP Stetski’s question in the House of Commons:
Mr. Wayne Stetski (Kootenay—Columbia, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, last year, when Greyhound announced it was ceasing operations, constituents in my riding were worried how they would get from town to town. Even more worrisome was how people would access healthcare specialists or crucial social services, like shelters for women fleeing violence or urgently needed addiction treatment. In rural areas like my riding, resources are limited and people relied on Greyhound to travel to other communities for these services. The Liberal government said it would provide funding, but it never came and people are still unable to travel.
When will the government act with a real sense of urgency and provide safe, affordable, and accessible transit for rural and remote communities?