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Peter Nowak knows the Canadian Telecommunications industry. #cdntech   #cdnpoli  
To the surprise of virtually no one, Netflix is raising prices. And soon - within the next few months in some places, according to financial results released by the company on Monday: Our current v...
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Canadian government rethinks passenger railway cuts ?

Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt is expected to announce funding extending Algoma Central Railway passenger service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst on Monday.
“It seems pretty clear that she wouldn't come for a bad news announcement,” said Linda Savory-Gordon, a board member of Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains. “We definitely have our fingers crossed and are hoping that (the funding) will be for at least the one year extension.”
Sault Star

De l'espoir pour sauver un tronçon de Via Rail au Nouveau-Brunswick
Mise à jour le samedi 12 avril 2014 à 15 h 33 HAE
Lueur d'espoir pour le service de train de passagers de Via Rail dans les Maritimes. L'abandon du tronçon de chemin de fer entre Miramichi et Bathurst est repoussé à une date ultérieure et la ministre fédérale des Transports, Lisa Raitt, est attendue dans la région.Selon le député de la Gaspésie, Philip Toone, de passage à Moncton, c'est vraiment la mobilisation de la population qui a permis d'en arriver là.
« Le fait que la ministre s'intéresse à notre dossier je crois que ça fait preuve que les pressions populaires qui ont eu lieu récemment a fait son effet », affirme-t-il.

Sarnia-Lambton's Rail Advocacy in Lambton group working to better rail service in Southwestern Ontario
By Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer
Sunday, April 13, 2014 12:33:46 EDT PM

A Sarnia-Lambton advocacy group fighting for better rail transportation service has been teaming up with similar groups to take the cause across Southwestern Ontario.
“One of our hopes is (to) increase ridership,” Houston said, “if we can get a connection out of Toronto mid-afternoon say so that business people in Chatham, Windsor, Sarnia will start utilizing the service.”
The idea is to make London a hub of sorts, he said, explaining most connections from places like Chatham or Sarnia, going to places like Kitchener or Stratford, currently have long waits in between.
Sarnia Observer
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"Canada’s experiment with creating its own digital currency appears to be over. The Royal Canadian Mint said Friday it’s halting development of its fledgling MintChip digital currency program and is now looking to sell the business," reported David George-Cosh for Dow Jones on Apr. 4.
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“The government has had years to get this right - which makes today’s unveiling all the more disappointing”, says Executive Director Steve Anderson. “This reads like the digital strategy for the last 5 years - not for the 5 years ahead. This whole strategy suffers from an appalling lack of ambition - Canadians deserve so much better than just warmed-up leftovers from previous government announcements. Although there are some positive proposals here, all in all Canada will still be left playing catch-up with the rest of the industrialized world when it comes to Internet access and affordability.”
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For immediate release
Consumers Need to be Wary of International Online Transactions
New PIAC report, “Shopping for Consumer Protection: Current Jurisdictional Issues”

(OTTAWA) Canadian online consumers have no clear recourse when encountering a problem involving international retailers, according to a report released today by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) entitled, “Shopping for Consumer Protection: Current Jurisdictional Issues.” The report recommends governmental bodies consider providing recommended venues for online dispute resolution (ODR) to provide predictability in the marketplace for both consumers and vendors.

The report examined challenges facing consumers when experiencing online shopping disputes with retailers based outside of Canada. “The murky world of trans-border consumer disputes remains a haunted house for consumers, with methods to legally resolve disputes remaining unclear,” noted John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel. Lawford concluded, “Currently consumers purchasing goods from jurisdictions outside of Canada have a limited number of avenues available to them should a dispute arise with an online retailer.”

While the report revealed that 72% of 1,001 Canadian consumers surveyed have never experienced a problem purchasing online, it found when Canadians did encounter a problem, ¾ of the time the retailer was foreign-based. In addition, 78% of Canadian consumers surveyed were not confident they could resolve a dispute with a foreign-based online retailer, versus 10% if the retailer is based in their home province. Other survey results found in the report include:

• 27% of Canadian consumers surveyed buy online at least once a month
• 74% of Canadian consumers surveyed look at products online at least once a month
• While 62% of Canadian consumers surveyed always look to ensure the retailer’s payment system is secure, only 20% always review the retailer’s compliant handling process.
• 45% of Canadian consumers surveyed do not know which laws should apply if they encounter a problem with an online retailer located outside of Canada.

The report recommends consumer protection agencies and organizations continue making consumers aware of potential hazards when purchasing from online retailers outside of Canada. Current government awareness programs dealing with online privacy should appear alongside this information to provide consumers with greater clarity before a consumer commits to an ecommerce purchase. Other recommendations include the provision of consumer assistance resources by provincial consumer protection agencies and consumer complaint bodies at all levels of government.

The report also calls for online retailers to use complaint, feedback and dispute information to update and enhance their own operations. “Clearly setting out policies and practices to address dispute resolution is essential to improving the online shopping experience for both consumers and retailers,” said Jonathan Bishop, PIAC’s Research Analyst.

The report and the French edition of the report are available for download at this post on PIAC’s website:
shortened url:

PIAC received funding from Industry Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations to prepare the report. The views expressed in the report are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or the Government of Canada.

For more information please contact:
John Lawford
Executive Director & General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002×25
Mobile (613)447-8125

Jonathan Bishop
Research & Parliamentary Analyst
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002×23
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You are cordially invited to the 2014
(Combined with Transport Action Canada AGM)
Saturday, April 26, 2014.  Metro Hall.  55 John Street (at King) Toronto, rooms 308/9
Transport Action AGMs: 10 a.m.–noon
Lunch: Members and guests are welcome to join us at the Aroma Restaurant, 121 King St. West, 2nd floor, across from Metro Hall.
Afternoon Public Forum: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Union Station Revitalization: Its Progress to Date.
Speaker: Michael Wolczyk, V-P Capital Infrastructure (Acting) GO Transit (Metrolinx)
Tour of Union Station construction will follow presentation. 
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Passenger Rail News, Town Hall Meetings, ACR 1-yr reprieve, MP Bernard Valcourt ?
National Dream Renewed: Town Hall meetings to be led by Harry Gow

Vancouver: May 8 - Town Hall meeting 6:30 p m @ Brix Studio, 102-211 Columbia St
Victoria: May 9 -Town Hall meeting: Ambrosia Centre, 638 Fisgard St. 7 p m; co-sponsor E. May M P Green Party of Canada ; w. Dr. Judith Sayers, ICF
Melville: May 11 - Town Hall mtg. 6:30 p m  @ Community Works, 800 Prince Edward St.
Winnipeg: May 13 Millenium Centre Winnipeg Central Library 6 - 9 pm

High speed passenger rail : Toronto to London via the North Main Line

"Premier Wynne announced a plan to have high speed rail from Toronto - Georgetown-Brampton-Kitchener-London”. High Speed Rail Canada reports. "Read this excellent primer on the line at Toronto Transit."

Federal money will be needed to boost Kitchener to Toronto rail service

Rail Advocacy in Lambton posted: “Paul Langan identifies issues that we at RAIL have as we advocate for better passenger service - have a listen to this CBC interview; “Kitchener to Toronto high-speed train unlikely without federal support, The president of High Speed Rail Canada, an independent lobby group, says the Province of Ontario gets federal support in order for a high-speed train to materialize. Transportation Minister Glen Murray promises to connect London and Toronto by 2024.” CBC K-W, Apr 16, 2014, 7:52

Citizens of Restigouche-Madawaska: Where is MP Bernard Valcourt ?

"This week, a mail out came to your mail from MP Bernard Valcourt. In it contains a post card you can mail to him free of charge with your comments. It would be a great opportunity to voice your concerns on the VIA Rail issue!! We havent heard much from Mr Valcourt about this yet.” the two thousand member-strong Facebook group Save our Trains in Northern NB posted on April 16.

BDO Canada report: Algoma passenger rail service generates at least $38 million in total economic activity

‘The ACR passenger service generates at least $38 million in total economic activity, a draft report by BDO Canada concludes. In fact, the economic impact of the passenger train service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, when including direct, indirect and induced economic impact ranges from $38,136,000 to $48,072,000, stakeholders were told at a meeting at the Civic Centre Thursday,” Sault Ste. Marie Star reported on April 17.

“BDO also examined the property values in the rural area and the report shows that the rail line supports more than $60 million in property value and provides immeasurable social benefits to the various group of stakeholders, property owners, users, First Nations and communities,” the Star reported.

Algoma Central Railway passenger service reprieve

On April 14 the Sault Star (via the MARP Facebook page)  reported "Algoma Central Railway (ACR) passenger rail trains will continue to chug along between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst — for the time being — due to the extension of a $2.2-million federal subsidy to CN. But that money dries up next March 31 and, as Transport Minister Lisa Raitt told stakeholders and media in Sault Ste. Marie Monday, the ball is now in others’ court to ensure the service survives. The ACR Passenger Service Working Group, made up of municipalities, First Nations, small businesses, outdoor enthusiasts, tourism lodge operators and property owners who use the railway as a means of transportation, enlisted BDO Canada to draft a “socio-economic impact assessment” outlining how the line generates “significant” economic activity, sustaining hundreds of jobs and yielding millions in tax revenue.

"That report is worth its weight in gold to Al Errington, lodge owner and Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains co-chair. “We have a starting point and we can really talk about what we’ve had in the past as far as economic, employment and tax-generation impacts,” Errington told the Sault Star.

Raitt urges private-sector solution to ACR issue

Canadian Council for Railway Heritage CCRH - Spring Meeting Notice and Agenda

Attached please find both the Notice and the Agenda for the forthcoming Spring Meeting of the Canadian Council for Railway Heritage, to be held in Ottawa and
Smiths Falls on Saturday May 24th 2014. All interested parties will be welcome to attend the Meeting.

The principal topics of discussion will be:
1) Discussion of the “Virtual National Collection” Project
2) Sustainability Concerns: The Future of Canada’s Volunteer-Operated Railway Museums

Hope to see you there!  Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any

Transport Action AGMs: April 26, Toronto

You are cordially invited to the 2014 Transport Action Ontario Annual General Meeting
Combined with Transport Action Canada AGM
Saturday, April 26, 2014. Metro Hall. 55 John Street (at King) Toronto, Rooms 308/9
Transport Action AGMs: 10 a.m - noon
Lunch: Members and guests are welcome to join us at the Aroma Restaurant, 121 King St. West, 2nd floor, across from Metro Hall.
Afternoon Public Forum: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Union Station Revitalization: Its Progress to Date.
Speaker: Michael Wolczyk, V-P Capital Infrastructure (Acting) GO Transit (Metrolinx)
Tour of Union Station construction will follow presentation.
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The death of Ontario passenger railway service? April 28-29

The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains is banking on an economic impact study to save passenger rail service in Northern Ontario. A BDO Canada LLP report on the rail service will be released on April 17 (next Thursday). 

“With just slightly more than two weeks away from the last scheduled northbound ACR passenger rail service to Hearst, stakeholders are anxiously awaiting a response from the federal Transport Minister to their request to continue funding the service for another year. The one-year continuation would provide stakeholders and community officials a real chance at developing a long-term plan that would ensure the viability of the passenger rail service and show the federal government about the real socio-economic impact the service has on Northern Ontario,” the Sault Star reported on April 9. 

CAPT hopes the BDO report will give Minister Lisa Raitt the ammunition she needs to fight for Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District. 

Email the Minister and tell her what you think:
Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt
Please cc: your letters to the following:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
Mr. Bryan Hayes, MP Sault Ste. Marie”
Ms. Carol Hughes, MP Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing


ACR Stakeholders Meeting: April 17:
Night Train: uplifting event
Media Train Event: April 28 & 29
Donate a car for tax receipt
Recent media stories
ACR Stakeholders Meeting: April 17: 1:00 pm in Sault Ste. Marie Civic Centre Council Chambers

Everyone is invited to an important ACR Stakeholders Meeting on Thurs. April 17 at 1:00 pm in the Sault Ste. Marie Civic Centre Council Chambers.  The Draft Report of the  Economic Impact Assessment of the cancellation of funding for the ACR passenger train service will be presented.  Please pass the word around to all of your contacts who are trying to save the passenger train and encourage them to attend.  BDO Canada LLP who did the analysis will be at the meeting to present and answer questions.

Night Train: uplifting event

For those who were not able to attend, we are delighted to report that NIGHT TRAIN, an evening of music inspired by trains at the Water Tower Pub, was a huge success. We thank Rusty McCarthy (who organized the event) and several other musicians who lifted our spirits and supported our efforts to keep working hard to save the Algoma passenger train. 

The house was full of people who see the crucial value of the passenger train for the regional economy and our overall well-being. Many thanks to the generous donations and sales of CAPT calendars and t-shirts  that so many people made.  Those contributions will be used for the big media train event on April 28-29. 
Media Train Event: April 28 & 29: A Celebration or a Protest?

Unless we hear otherwise, the last run of the passenger train is to be northbound from the Sault on April 28 and southbound from Hearst on April 29.  CAPT is encouraging as many people as possible to ride that train and is organizing this as a major media train event. There will be musicians entertaining us and we are inviting media reporters to ride with us to see the wide variety of people and places that this incredible train serves and to witness firsthand how important it is to our regional economy.  

Some people will be staying overnight at their camps or resorts along the line, others will be going to Searchmont, Hawk Junction, Dubreuilville, Oba or Hearst to stay overnight and return by train the next day.  Pass the word around so we can pack the train for an impressive celebration (if good news is received by then) or to protest (if the decision to cancel funding is not reversed by then).
Donate a car to save the passenger train:

Go the CAPT website— find out how to donate an old vehicle in exchange for a tax receipt.  This is a creative way to support our cause.  100% of your donation supports our efforts to save the Algoma passenger train and you get a charitable tax receipt from Transport Action Canada. Eco-friendly vehicle recyclers pick up your car, just click the link on the CAPT website and fill out the form or phone the toll free number.
Recent Media Stories
Consultants report shows train an asset

Transforming the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission

Time for Minister to get on board with ACR

ONTC announcement a 'stop gap' measure
ACR survey nets considerable response
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Passenger railway news : Soo Night Train, Island Corridor Foundation 
Vancouver Island passenger railway service

On April 3: Island Corridor Foundation commented "Boards of all three organizations still have to approve the agreement and finalize funding before work can begin on fixing tracks and bridges. Repairs are expected to take at least nine months.” The ICF comment was linked to  a media report headlined: "Islanders and Via Rail at odds over whether there’s a deal” The Apr. 2 story by Lindsay Kines and Bill Cleverley from the Times Colonist 
is at:

The ICF also reports on a Statement from James Lunney Conservative MP, Nanaimo-Alberni.  "On Wednesday, April 2, 2014 the Island Corridor Foundation announced a tentative agreement had been reached with Via Rail to reinstate passenger rail service on Vancouver Island.”

April 26, 2014 : Transport Action Toronto : AGM 

(Combined with Transport Action Canada AGM)
Saturday, April 26, 2014. Metro Hall. 55 John Street (at King) Toronto, rooms 308/9
Transport Action AGMs: 10 a.m.–noon
Lunch: Members and guests are welcome to join us at the Aroma Restaurant, 121 King St. West, 2nd floor, across from Metro Hall.
Afternoon Public Forum: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Union Station Revitalization: Its Progress to Date.
Speaker: Michael Wolczyk, V-P Capital Infrastructure (Acting) GO Transit (Metrolinx)
Tour of Union Station construction will follow presentation.

News from the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT)

1. Save ACR passenger rail service : Working Group Update

- BDO is close to completion of its economic impact analysis. Bravo to so many of you who filled out the survey for the study.  There was an excellent participation rate.

- Letters for a meeting with Minister Lisa Raitt continue to be sent to her.

e-mail addresses for saving the train letters
Posted on March 21, 2014 by admin

”Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt”
Please cc: your letters to the following:
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper,”
“Mr. Bryan Hayes, MP Sault Ste. Marie”
“Ms. Carol Hughes, MP Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing”
“SSM Economic Development Corporation” i
“SSM Chamber of Commerce Ontario”
“Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains”
Visit the website

2. Reminder: Night Train: Wed. April 9 at 8:00 pm Water Tower Pub, Sault Set Marie

Please pass the word around to your contacts to attend the special benefit evening of train music to support our efforts to save the ACR passenger train. 

3. Media coverage:
• Time to build rails again at Essar Steel Algoma
• Carol Hughes Discusses ACR in the House of Commons, 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, Tuesday, April 1, 2014 (Refer to Adjournment Proceedings)
• Climate Change a threat to security, food and humankind- IPCC report
• UN report on climate change rings alarm on warming polar regions

4.  Reduced 2014 CAPT calendar price: $5 

Since we are into April, the 2014, the 2014 calendars are now $5. They are still for sale at the Art Gallery of Algoma and Shabby Motley 356 Queen Street East. Sault Ste Marie. P6A1Z1. Tel: 705-575-9276 or we can mail them to you and you can send us a cheque. 

Cheques can be made payable to Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains care of:
Linda Savory Gordon
Algoma University
1520 Queen Street East
Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 2G4

Railway safety “third party” double talk

The Toronto Star today reports, ”Transport Canada said MMA (the Lac-Mégantic disaster shortline railway company) “informed Transport Canada of its intention to use one-man crews.” The regulator then met with MMA, which “demonstrated that its use of one-man crews would meet the safety standards in place.” “It’s important to understand that this is not a permission-granting exercise,” wrote Transport Canada spokesperson Brooke Williams.

“I think Transport Canada is hung up on semantics, i.e. the difference between ‘approved’ and ‘didn’t disapprove’ after MMA complied with requirements they provided,” (MMA owner) Burkhardt said.

The Toronto Star’s Wendy Gillis wrote, “E. Wayne Benedict, a long-time rail employee who is now a Calgary-based labour lawyer, said Transport Canada can technically say it did not “allow” the use of one-man crews because of the setup of the rail regulation regime, which uses what’s called safety management systems (SMS). “This goes back to the fundamental problem with the railway safety regulatory regime,” Benedict said, because it allows companies to set their own safety rules, which they can then claim is proprietary information. “The whole system is, in my opinion, pretty flawed,” he said.
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Rail service to move forward on Vancouver Island
April 02, 2014 12:49 from Ryan Price, CFAX

There's a tentative deal between VIA Rail and the Island Corridor Foundation to bring train service back to Vancouver Island.

The E and N Rail line links Victoria to Courtenay, but the tracks are in bad shape and service has been suspended since 2011.

Today's tentative deal for service means promised funding from municipal, provincial and federal governments can now be spent to fix the tracks. There's $20-million dollars available.

The ICF says the tracks need 9-months worth of work, once a contract is awarded. There no time line yet for when that might happen.

The new route will be more commuter-friendly. The train will leave Nanaimo in the morning bound for Victoria. Then will travel to Courtenay. It will travel back to Victoria to pick up afternoon commuters before ending the day in Nanaimo.

Where the main stops will be along the line are no yet known.

The ICF says VIA Rail will provide the trains and Southern Rail will operate the track. No VIA representatives were at today's announcement in Nanaimo.
Passenger rail returning to Vancouver Island
Metro, Luke Simcoe

CC BY-SA 3.0/Alasdair McLellanA portion of the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island (formerly the E&N line) is seen near Chemainus, B.C.
After a three-year absence, passenger rail may be returning to Vancouver Island.

According to the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF), a tentative deal has been brokered between Southern Railway and VIA Rail to restore commuter service on the old E&N line.

VIA suspended the once-daily passenger train in 2011, citing the poor condition of the tracks.

ICF co-chair Mary Ashley said Monday that Southern has agreed to handle the operation of the line — including service, marketing and maintenance — while VIA will provide the train itself.

The new deal includes $20.9 million for upgrading tracks and bridges along the route.

The new service will operate out of Nanaimo, the ICF said, allowing for an early morning train to Victoria.

“It’s a great day,” Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan told the media following the announcement.

The history of the E&N railway — which originally referred to “Esquimalt and Nanaimo” — dates back to the 1870s, when the federal government promised to build the line if B.C. joined Confederation.

Map by Transport Action B.C.

Vancouver Island passenger rail announcement coming today
Mayors say they are in the dark about Island Corridor Foundation's news on the Southern Railway route
CBC News Posted: Apr 02, 2014 6:54 AM PT Last Updated: Apr 02, 2014 6:59 AM PT
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Jim Goss
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J. Goss + Associates is a Toronto-based strategic communications group. 

Jim Goss is well-versed in the Canadian transportation, telecommunications and media industries. 

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