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Nash takes anti-diesel petition to Ottawa

by Erin Hatfield

She may not hold any official post in Parliament, but Peggy Nash isn’t giving up on fighting diesel trains in the riding she once represented.

Nash, the former MP for Parkdale-High Park from 2006 to 2008 and who does plan to run in the next federal election, said she is motivated to keep on this issue because of the urgency of the situation.

“This is a decision that is going to be made soon and it will affect the neighbourhood where I raised my children and I am going to be living here for many, many years to come,” Nash said. “I have spoken to people who live within a stone’s throw of the tracks, people with young families, who use Sorauren Park and it’s a decision that will impact the quality of life in our neighbourhood.”

GO and Metrolinx are going ahead with the plan to build a line to the airport using diesel-powered cars. The trains will be designed so as to be converted to electric in the future, and the line will be built so as to be able to accommodate electrification in the future. Nash said that decision should be challenged by Premier Dalton McGuinty, who ultimately has the final say in the matter.

“It doesn’t seem logical,” Nash said. “No one has been able to give a good answer as to why the rest of the world… can build an airport link that is electrified, that is affordable, that makes multiple stops but is still rapid and somehow for our largest city it doesn’t seem possible.”

Over the course of the summer, Nash has amassed more than 1,000 signatures on a petition calling on the federal government to urge the air rail link be electrified and not to invest in diesel.

“The province is saying it is too expensive to electrify now so I would like to see the federal government not only urge the province to make the right decision, but get them to back it up with some additional money,” Nash said.

Nash plans to deliver the petition to Ottawa in the near future and hopes to see it introduced in the House of Commons before the House recesses at the end of this year.