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VIA Rail

littlewill1166

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Out of curiosity, how did you accumulate so many points and take that many segments with such little spent?
I have an unlimited semester pass so whenever I knew my train would be delayed I cancelled my original reservation and booked a separate segment for every stop the train made. I got 65 points per segment for a 1 hour+ delay and 130 for a 4 hour+ delay.
 

smallspy

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Out of curiosity, how did you accumulate so many points and take that many segments with such little spent?
I have an unlimited semester pass so whenever I knew my train would be delayed I cancelled my original reservation and booked a separate segment for every stop the train made. I got 65 points per segment for a 1 hour+ delay and 130 for a 4 hour+ delay.
There are a number of other ways to do it as well. There are regular surveys that you can fill in that will give you points. And they regularly run special deals to improve points accumulation at various times of the year.

Dan
 

Urban Sky

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Allandale25

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steveintoronto

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OK, needless to say, I consider this *overdue* news, and quoting the CP wire on this, save for their actual quotes of officials, wouldn't stand in debate, so let's flip this over for a moment:
In practice, that means projects need to meet federal policy objectives, along with those of the jurisdiction housing a particular project. Projects must also be attractive to the private sector, meaning they need to bring in money to pay off investors.

“Our role is to conduct analysis of options in order to provide commercially confidential advice,” agency CEO Pierre Lavallee said in a statement about the meetings regarding Via Rail.
All well and good! Anyone reading that in this string would realize that's been D-S' argument all along.

Now apply those criteria stated above to the Metrolinx situation.

Seems to me there's a lot of explaining to be done from one end or the other. And this point isn't with VIA, it's with Verster, Fedeli, McNaughton, Yurek and Lavallee. Pardon my extrapolating it from this string's perspective, but this was a point that @crs1026 raised a week or so back.

The demands being made of VIA *with the information being provided* appear to be far more stringent than with Metrolinx. Again, let's flip this over, what "business case" has Metrolinx provided to the the InfraBank as the basis for that "$2B"...best I quote this:
So far, the agency has gotten involved in two projects, first through a $1.28-billion loan to an electric rail project in Montreal, and last month with up to $2 billion in debt to expand GO Transit’s rail network around Toronto.
And subsequent to that, where was Lavallee's reference to it being "debt-financing" in that announcement that so many have pounced on as gospel truth? (He and all others studiously avoided it...an odd stance for 'regimes imbued with accountability and thrift management')

"$2B" either financed debt or a grant, is a damn good part of what D-S has been asking for and "Transport Canada" are still 'sitting on this'?

Again, even though this is CP wire copy, best I quote exactly:
Transport Canada has been looking over the Via proposal for more than a year, and the Liberals have yet to announce a decision on funding.
And Yurek is totally unable to put detail on what his 'Big Huge Massive Gargantuan Largest P3 In Canada' Announcement is all about?

Hey...what's wrong with this picture?

This is great news for VIA, it keeps the blood flowing...but it poses as many..*more* questions than it answers. And last time I checked the Act that enabled the InfraBank...best I quote and reference:
Canada Infrastructure Bank Act
S.C. 2017, c. 20, s. 403
https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-6.18/FullText.html

...accountability and due process is all laid out.

Back later...after I've brushed up on a few chapters.

Something doesn't smell right, and I'm being diplomatic...

Who exactly is behind the financing of that "$2B debt" to Metrolinx? And who carries the risk/underwrites it? And the risk stops where?
 
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crs1026

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Who exactly is behind the financing of that "$2B debt" to Metrolinx? And who carries the risk/underwrites it? And the risk stops where?
Well, looking at it as a bank would look at it.... the $2B to ML is a loan to an enterprise that has a whack of assets - rights of way, locomtives, railcars. It’s only a smaller portion of the funding for an addition that has someone already committed to pay the rest. And implicitly, it’s a venture that has Ontario’s backing if only for the reason that if it failed, a hundred thousand GTA’ers would be unable to get to work. So the Province may not need to explicitly sign anything,
Think of it as a business loan to add a wing to a successful hotel that has been in operation for a long time, with other backers putting up a bigger share of the addition......oh, and the hotel is right next to Canada’s biggest casino.
Whereas VIA, while having modest assets, is seeking the full funding for a startup operation with no other backers (that we know of) in a less desirable location, with less guarantee of revenue, and with the very real potential that if the venture fails, the owner will just shut it down and sell for scrap value. With the architectural engineer (Transport Canada) hemming and hawing and looking uncertain about whether they will sign off on the drawings and related development studies for the property.
Which would you lend money to if you were a banker?

- Paul

PS - It continues to sound like TC and/or Cabinet is looking for any and every excuse to kill HFR. Thanks to the SNC scandal, the pols have extra reason to remain hands off, but happily for them, TC will cast enough doubt to scare off the bankers.
 

steveintoronto

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Well, looking at it as a bank would look at it.... the $2B to ML is a loan to an enterprise that has a whack of assets - rights of way, locomtives, railcars.
That's the $2B question. I have doubts, justified because we have no details. I suspect the Feds are the underwriters, or else why wouldn't IO finance it through their own provincial channels, as Crosslinx (Eglinton LRT) is? Collateral assets have not been mentioned there either to the best of my knowledge. I will dig further later.

I haven't any answers, I think we all deserve some, and it might be required by law to account for it, FOI or not.

But meantime, here's the "leveraging" at work again. From the Railway Association of Canada (RAC):
https://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/Committee/421/FINA/Brief/BR10007201/br-external/RailwayAssociationOfCanada-e.pdf

Something to consider in light of a conflicting number of accounts as to the nature of this financing:
Loan guarantees — limitation

  • 19 (1) The Bank may provide loan guarantees only in accordance with this section.
  • Marginal note:Recommendation
    (2) The Bank may recommend to the designated Minister that the Minister of Finance approve a loan guarantee with respect to an infrastructure project. If the designated Minister concurs with the recommendation, he or she is to recommend to the Minister of Finance that the Minister of Finance approve the loan guarantee.
  • Marginal note: Power to provide
    (3) The Bank may provide a loan guarantee with respect to an infrastructure project only if the Minister of Finance approves the loan guarantee.
Powers of Minister of Finance
Marginal note:Recommendation for loan or loan guarantee

  • 22 (1) The Bank may recommend to the designated Minister that the Minister of Finance make a loan or provide a loan guarantee with respect to an infrastructure project. If the designated Minister concurs with the recommendation, he or she is to recommend to the Minister of Finance that the Minister of Finance make the loan or provide the loan guarantee.
  • Marginal note: Power to make loan or provide loan guarantee
    (2) The Minister of Finance, on the recommendation of the designated Minister, may make a loan or provide a loan guarantee with respect to the infrastructure project.
Marginal note:Capital payments

23 The Minister of Finance may pay to the Bank, out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, amounts of not more than $35,000,000,000 in the aggregate, or any greater aggregate amount that may be authorized from time to time under an appropriation Act.

Marginal note:Loans to the Bank

24 At the request of the Bank, the Minister of Finance may lend money to the Bank, on the recommendation of the designated Minister, out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, on any terms and conditions that the Minister of Finance may fix.
https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-6.18/FullText.html

This may have huge implications akin to what I had projected earlier, for both VIA and Metrolinx and others:

For future federal funding of provincial projects, rather than fund them directly as a grant, the Feds could use the Bank to funnel the same funds, leverage them four or five times with private capital, and take the *dominant controlling stake* in what the Province doesn't wish to finance, and instead of it being a Provincial DBFOM or akin, it becomes Federal, even if held at arm's length via the CIB.
amounts of not more than $35,000,000,000 in the aggregate
Holy Equity Batman!

CIB's investment will improve the cost of financing and attract private capital while ensuring appropriate risk transfer to the private sector.
https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/canada-infrastructure-bank-announces-2-billion-to-expand-go-transit-846546472.html

So again, who baskstops the "private sector's" risk? Does the 'back stop here'?

Here's a bold idea: QP puts up part of or the entire Metrolinx owned rail network for some form of P3 restructuring to complement VIA's HFR. And that done through the CIB. Passenger priority track/network, including HFR electrified. Province gets money for investing in the service and rolling stock from the RoW sale, Metrolinx leases back track access as does VIA, and the taxpayer and investors all win...if it's done right.

Explaining this to Doug might take a lot of napkins though...
 
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asher__jo

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This may have huge implications akin to what I had projected earlier, for both VIA and Metrolinx and others:

For future federal funding of provincial projects, rather than fund them directly as a grant, the Feds could use the Bank to funnel the same funds, leverage them four or five times with private capital, and take the *dominant controlling stake* in what the Province doesn't wish to finance, and instead of it being a Provincial DBFOM or akin, it becomes Federal, even if held at arm's length via the CIB.
The current Federal gov't definitely has been making lots of signals they want to completely cut out the middle-man with cities (ie. Provinces)
 

rbt

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The current Federal gov't definitely has been making lots of signals they want to completely cut out the middle-man with cities (ie. Provinces)
So you're expecting a change in the Charter to recognize municipalities are something other than a department of the provincial government? Provinces (who have 10 votes of 11) aren't going to agree to that. Toronto is part of the Government of Ontario, Montreal is part of the Government of Quebec. You can't bypass the provincial government when talking with cities as cities are departments of the provincial government.

So Feds can say "Ontario, here is a commitment of $XB to be spent on project X and only project X". Feds typically reimburse spending rather than providing it upfront. The commitment is considered a contract so the provinces can (and have) successfully sued for committed funds.
 
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jamincan

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Municipalities are creatures of the province, but that doesn't mean that the federal government can't negotiate directly with them and bypass the provincial government, at least not yet under the current system. The province is free to change that of course.
 

rbt

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... but that doesn't mean that the federal government can't negotiate directly with them and bypass the provincial government...
The federal government regularly meets with specific departments of the provincial government on a regular basis; whether it's MTO for transportation items or the Minister of Education for Education related concerns.

If the federal government has Toronto related business, they go to the office/department of the province that handles most of the Toronto related business; that would be John Tory and the Municipality of Toronto. Any cheque or contract the feds put forward for actual work must be approved of by the province and flow through provincial treasury; Toronto council (which the mayor answers to) has not been granted signing authority on behalf of the province for that type of work (it's outside the scope of day-to-day operations).

Any debt, liability, asset, or other item that the Municipality of Toronto is wholly the responsibility of the Province of Ontario; and Municipality of Toronto doesn't have signing authority to bind the provincial government to collaborations with 3rd party governments.

Feds can make it really easy to get provincial approval by funding 100% of a project (including any cost overruns).
 
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steveintoronto

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You can't bypass the provincial government when talking to Toronto.
It's already been done on a number of issues. And the Feds have intentions of doing more. No-one has been more vociferous on this than Adam Vaughan. Drug injection sites, for instance. The Feds have been financing some municipal programs for decades directly w/o provincial participation. I'll post them again later, as I did on this point a couple of years back at UT.

Meantime:
Federal government threatens to bypass Queen's Park, accuse Ford of
[...]
The work around
"If we have to work around Queen's Park, we will work around Queen's Park. Because at the end of the day Torontonians are Canadians too, and the Canadian government has a responsibility to protect Canadians, especially when people are taking such vindictive and destructive actions towards them."

The Liberals have shown a penchant for finding ways to work around provinces.

The government's vaunted $40-billion national housing strategy provides some money to provinces and territories, but delivers the bulk of federal funding through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to provide more direct cash to cities.

The Liberals first announced the funding bypass in the 2017 budget, arguing it was needed to ensure cities could quickly access and spend money on the country's stock of aging affordable housing.

Singh pushes back
Infrastructure money has also been delivered through programs run by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

In reaction to Ford's decision, the Prime Minister's Office said the government "will continue to be a strong partner with the City of Toronto."
[...]
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/toronto-ford-council-vaughan-1.4765191

The province is free to change that of course.
Actually not. The Courts may. There are many areas of the Constitution that aren't defined. Thus the SCC rulings on a number of matters.

[...]
By working more closely with municipalities, the Government of Canada is providing communities across the country with the tools they need to complete important infrastructure projects and make everyday life easier and more affordable for the middle class and people working hard to join it.

Quotes
“Since 2016, our government has invested in thousands of infrastructure projects across the country. This year, we are doubling funding for local priorities to help leaders like Mayor Iveson complete important infrastructure projects, create good, middle class jobs, and make our communities better places to live.”
—The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
“This investment answers our call for the federal government to work directly with local government. It's a recognition of our local frontline expertise and ability to be a good partner in delivering projects that will directly contribute to the local economy and a better quality of life for Edmontonians.”
—Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton
Quick Facts
  • With many municipalities across Canada facing serious infrastructure needs, Budget 2019 proposes a one-time transfer of $2.2 billion through the federal Gas Tax Fund to address short-term priorities in municipalities and First Nations communities.
  • Projects under this fund can be used for:
    • Productivity and economic growth – including highways and local roads, public transit, and regional and local airports
    • Clean environment – including drinking water, wastewater, and community energy systems
    • Strong cities and communities – including sport and recreation, culture and tourism, and capacity building
  • The federal Gas Tax Fund delivers over $2 billion every year to over 3,600 communities across the country. In recent years, funding has supported approximately 4,000 projects each year.
  • The Gas Tax Fund provides municipalities with the flexibility to allocate the funding according to their infrastructure priorities, as they see fit.
  • [...]
March 19, 2019
Federation of Canadian Municipalities President Vicki-May Hamm issued the following statement after today’s release of the Government of Canada’s 2019 federal budget.
“Today’s budget delivers major results for Canadians directly through their local governments. We welcome this as a significant turning point for cities and communities across Canada.
“Municipalities are the order of government closest to Canadians’ daily realities. From our unique position, we know what’s needed on the ground and we deliver cost-effective solutions that work. That’s why local governments are vital partners in achieving a wide range of federal objectives.
“Today’s budget elevates this federal-municipal partnership as the way to build better lives for Canadians. It puts community-building tools directly in local hands by growing next year’s core federal funding transfer to municipalities. It implements our urgent recommendations to close Canada’s rural Internet gap. And by investing in FCM’s programs, it builds on a federal-municipal collaboration that has been directly enriching the lives of Canadians for decades.
[...]
https://fcm.ca/en/news-media/news-release/budget-2019-turning-point-cities-and-communities

From the Parliamentary Library Publications:
http://publications.gc.ca/Collection-R/LoPBdP/BP/bp276-e.htm

This was published
Erin Tolley, Economics Division
William R. Young, Political and Social Affairs Division
October 1991
Revised February 2001


It is about to be rendered ever more relevant in light of certain Premiers testing the terms of the Constitution. Bring it on! The court decision will set them back, not forward. The Feds will win. And so will Cdn cities.

Meantime, funding rail projects, even city owned ones, or even privately funded ones can be declared "For the General Advantage of Canada" by Parliament, or the Lieutenant in Council (ostensibly the Privy Council)
Declaratory power under section 92(10)(c) In general terms, works declared by the Parliament of Canada to be "for the general Advantage of Canada" or "for the Advantage of Two or more of the Provinces" tend to be part of the national infrastructure.
Section 92(10) of the Constitution Act, 1867 - Wikipedia
Funding in part or whole by the Canada Infrastructure Bank might invoke that declaration, a whole other discussion looming.

If Doug Ford thinks he can piss in everyone's eye without consequence, he's in for a surprise, even before the next election. With greater Fed contribution to transit rail in the GTHA, I see a much greater chance of a common passenger rail network at least partially private, allowing leasing by both GO and VIA, akin to HFR but spread more widely. In fact I see it as one of the few possibilities for Ontario to 'go electric' as QP is doing everything it can to avoid electrifying the present GO network.

Ford will reap what he sows...into the vacuum that Ford leaves (he's a vacuous kinda guy) others will step. Gladly, and take jurisdictional as well as fiscal ownership as they do.

And here's the supreme irony of Ford using "Neo-Conservatism" as justification for his scorched earth approach (pun intended as per climate change):

Right wingers are the ones most promoting Section 92 as the 'saviour' for pipelines:
[...]
The founding fathers drafted the Constitution the way they did because they understood the local pressures faced by politicians, and the temptation to succumb to them. Section 91 sets out the federal Parliament's powers; Section 92 sets out provincial powers – but specifically reserves to Parliament key jurisdiction over shipping lines, railways, canals, telegraphs and other works or undertakings (including, today, pipelines) that connect one province with any other province(s), or beyond. It also gives Parliament the right to declare any work, even though "wholly situate within" a province, to be for the general advantage of Canada or of two or more provinces – and thus under federal jurisdiction. This "declaratory power" has been invoked more than 400 times since 1867.
[...]
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/from-railroads-to-pipelines-the-constitution-still-prevails/article29396439/

And another Conservative (Findlay above is a Liberal in name only), this is from Tom Flanagan, Harper's 'right hand man':
[...]
Section 92(10) powers are an extremely important and often used part of the Canadian Constitution. In the first five decades of Canadian history, the declaratory power was invoked more than 400 times, mostly to ensure that Canada's burgeoning railway system grew to national advantage. By the First World War, virtually every inch of rail track in Canada was under federal jurisdiction. More recently, the declaratory power was used to make Canada's nuclear industry a federal matter. [...]
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/to-connect-the-pipeline-connect-the-dots/article4461040/

What chugs around, whirrs back around later...
 
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asher__jo

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Municipalities are creatures of the province, but that doesn't mean that the federal government can't negotiate directly with them and bypass the provincial government, at least not yet under the current system. The province is free to change that of course.
Exactly. The Federal gov't has flirted worked outside it's jurisdiction multiple times (Canada Health Act comes to mind), and giving gas tax revenue directly to municipalities.
 

kEiThZ

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They talk a lot about leveraging private capital. But so far the CIB has only bought into projects that were already financed. And only done so with loans. Not grants. I am starting to not see the point of the CIB. There seems to quite the gap between reality and rhetoric. They aren't delivering a single project that wouldn't have happened without them.

And on HFR, it's getting pretty clear that the private sector wants 407 ETR type deals than to actually build something, "Please build it and give us a sweet deal after construction." In that case, again, the CIB doesn't seem to be doing enough to get shovels in the ground. If that's what industry wants, get it built and work on selling it to them after.
 

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