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The failure of CN Rail to run the Algoma Central Railway (ACR) passenger train after ending third-party operation of that train is a shirking of community responsibility by that corporation. That CN chose that third-party, a business unable to meet requirements of federal funders and the track owner (CN), means one of two things. Either CN doesn’t have strong business acumen or they knowingly chose less-than-the-best in hopes that the 100-year-old train between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst would fail.
CN’s initial excuse for not running the ACR train (causing the search for a third-party operator) is that it couldn’t do so without a yearly federal subsidy of $2.2 million. Consider that CN just announced second-quarter 2015 profits of $886 million. CN makes almost a billion dollars in 3 months and yet says it can’t run the train without $2 million per year.
CN only cares about maximizing its own profits and not the economic and community role the ACR plays. In addition to the estimated $38 million in annual economic impact generated by the train, the train is a year-round life-line for communities, First Nations, businesses, and residents along its route. Many will now be stranded, especially in winter.
CN has forgotten that all businesses are granted a social license by communities to operate and that they cannot simply take without giving back. While CN may legally own their tracks, those tracks cross the land at the pleasure of the public, not the other way around. Their social license to do so can be revoked if the people will it.
If CN wants to do the right thing, it should immediately operate the ACR train until a new third-party operator is found – doing so won’t bankrupt them. If they do not, I encourage individuals to push their elected representatives on this issue and to divest any CN stock they have, if it is only money that matters to this corporation. CN is about to discover that the people of Northern Ontario are not passive.
Chad Beharriell, (Click Here for Mr. Beharriell’s previous Letter on this subject)
Iron Bridge, ON
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