By Kevin Woodhouse
Shortly after the convincing win of the Quebec Liberal Party last Monday night, Train de l’ouest co-founder and former MP Clifford Lincoln wasted no time issuing a release lauding the majority victory.
“The Train de l’ouest welcomes the election of a Liberal government majority in Quebec. Mr. Philippe Couillard has always shown its support for improved commuter train service between downtown Montreal and the West Island, including Vaudreuil-Soulanges, and clearly reiterated during the last election campaign that the Train de l’ouest was a priority project,” noted Lincoln on election night.
This past October, Couillard told reporters during a quick visit which was part of his third tour of the province since becoming leader of the Liberal Party to “meet with citizens, find out what their concerns and interests are and we’re also here to find out what the principle dossiers in the West Island are.”
Couillard also spoke about his support for the Train de l’ouest project as “there needs to be a dedicated rail line and this is a high level priority.”
“Once the new government and minister of transport is in place, we will rally the West Island mayors and meet with the new Liberal minister like we did the last time they were in power,” Lincoln told The Suburban.
The $22 million report on the commuter rail project’s viability has been completed but “not released yet as it was caught in the election swirl,” said Lincoln.
“We are not expecting miracles overnight but we are very hopeful for a follow up soon after the new government has been put into place,” Lincoln said.
During the last 18 months while the PQ held the provincial reins of power, Lincoln tried to further the project’s cause by arranging to meet with the ministry of transport. “None of our many requests were taken seriously and we once got a call from an aide which never went any further,” said Lincoln.
When Lincoln did get a letter from the former minister, it was a five line missive acknowledging that earlier correspondence had been received. “The Train de l’ouest was obviously not a priority for the PQ whose focus seemed to be on the Charter of Values and referendums. Now, with a Liberal government in place, it will be like night and day,” said the former Lac St. Louis MP.
Lincoln did note that the Train de l’ouest is a non-partisan body and “we deal with the government in place but there will be a lot more support with a new Liberal majority in place.”
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