Clean Train Coalition Update

Happy new year, everyone! A small group of us have been very busy with Clean Train Coalition work over the holiday season so this is why there’s been such a delay since our last email. (If you have time to help us with that… we would be most grateful!)

In the meantime, it’s short notice, but our NEXT GENERAL MEETING is this Thursday, Jan 6 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. at Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre, 1900 Davenport just west of Symington.

Topics in this email:
1. Petitions delivered to the Legislature
2. Seasonal cards and postcards to McGuinty
3. Metrolinx preparing to buy Japanese-built diesel trains!
4. Request for donations
5. Come to next general meeting
6. What else you can do

1. Petitions delivered to the Legislature

Over ten thousand petitions were introduced into the Legislature on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 and the CTC held a press conference to announce it.

With these endorsements, the CTC now has support from members of Ontario’s three political parties. Liberal MPPs who presented petitions were Laura Albanese (York South-Weston), Tony Ruprecht (Davenport), and Shafiq Qaadri (Etobicoke North). Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP and Transport Critic Frank Klees (Newmarket-Aurora) and MPP Joyce Savoline (Burlington) also presented petitions with Klees attending the press conference held in the morning. NDP members presenting petitions were Transport Critic Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) and Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina). Ms. DiNovo has already presented a large number of the petitions during the past year and more are coming forward daily.

At the press conference, PC Transport Critic Frank Klees said, “I certainly welcome on behalf of the Conservative Caucus the initiative being taken by your group. I want to make it very clear I stand firmly behind this. It is unjustifiable on the part of the government to not go electric from the very start.”

Klees added, “There are literally thousands of people who have expressed their views on the benefits of electrification and it is time for the government to listen. What has not been in the discussion to this point is the economics. There are not only the environmental advantages, but the very large operating savings down the road.”

2. Seasonal Cards and postcards to Premier McGuinty
Did you get one of our holiday cards? The CTC printed about 5000 non-denominational cards and delivered them to people along the tracks, media and politicians. These cards illustrated the need for everyone to contact Dalton McGuinty to let him know we want electric not diesel trains, and we want them now, not later. A big thanks to our distribution team who got them out there. You were a tremendous help and we could not have done it without you.

Please contact the premier if you have not already at dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal..ola.org to say you want electric trains between Union Station and Pearson Airport by 2015. The diesel trains stop with him – he must be the one to change them to electric.

In addition, some friends of the CTC (at www.stopdirtydieseltrains.ca) ran off a large number of postcards that can be mailed to Premier McGuinty. They have been dropped off at various locations in the communities but if you can’t find any, email info@cleantrain.ca if you want some.

3. Update: Metrolinx puts a bid in for Japanese diesel trains!

Despite the CTC having been told directly by Ontario Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne when we met with her in September that they would wait until the electrification study was completed to decide what locomotives to buy, Metrolinx has announced that it will be purchasing Japanese-built diesel-powered vehicles for the ARL by February 6!

We don’t have to tell you all the reasons this is wrong, but just to restate it:
going electric would pay huge dividends in economic spin-off, job creation, and environmental and health benefits for taxpayers. Virtually everything required – electric locomotives, rolling stock, overhead wires, transformers and all the construction work – could be supplied by Ontario firms. It would be a risk-free, made-in-Ontario solution. Rail and transit industry associations in Canada and the U.S. estimate that every $1 million invested in capital projects such as commuter rail electrification generates $3 million to $4 million in economic activity and creates 26 to 40 new jobs.

With the prospect of a significant decline in world oil supply looming within the next decade, electric power is recognized as the preferred energy source for sustainable transportation.

The CTC is calling on Premier McGuinty to direct Metrolinx to not purchase these diesel trains and rather to direct Metrolinx to make the ARL electric!

4. Clean Train Coalition needs cash!

I am sure you are thinking, doesn’t everyone, especially in these tough economic times?
We hope you can spare some for our fight to ensure a positive outcome!

The CTC is a volunteer group that runs on a very tight shoestring budget used for covering all our communications costs. The 5000 cards we recently printed cost over $500; copies of briefing notes and press releases for government and media relations cost for each round of advocacy; display and hand-out materials are needed for every community education event.

Without your donations, we can’t make our voices heard and be certain that people get informed about what is really at stake, and ensure that the Metrolinx public relations machine is held up to public scrutiny.

Can we afford to allow Metrolinx to choose diesel trains for the ARL instead of electric ones, which would result in over 300,000 people breathing in the most deadly particulates? There are over 1000 children along this corridor registered at school today with asthma. How will we explain to those kids who have to manage the added environmental stress of pollution, what impact diesel trains will have on them and their young friends for the rest of their lives?

Please go to our website (www.cleantrain.ca) and donate whatever you can. If every household on this list donated $10 or more, that would be an enormous boost! It’s our children on the line. We can’t have a lack of funds stop us.

5. Come to our next General Meeting.

Thursday, January 6, 2010 at 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Come and join us for an informative meeting on what is happening with the Clean Train Coalition. It takes place at the Perth Davenport Neighbourhood Centre at 1900 Davenport Ave @ Symington Ave. Refreshments will be served and you will learn of all the good work that is being done. Bring a friend!

6. Other ways you can help

Mail, email, or phone your local councillor (especially the newly elected ones) and your provincial MPPs and voice your continued opposition to the use of diesel trains versus electrification. (Contacts for some key provincial politicians are below)

Remind elected officials that dirty diesel is bad for the environment, bad for the health of Torontonians, and that all the available data points to the fact that electrification is more affordable over the long run.

You can find contact information for key politicians by clicking on the Contact Politicians link on the CTC home page. At the bottom of this email, we've also included contact info for Premier McGuinty, Minister Wynne, and MPPs Laura Albanese and Tony Ruprecht.
Continue to spread the word! Please tell your friends and neighbours that there is still time to make a difference. Direct them to our web site for more information. Have them sign up to our newsletter or volunteer list.

If you might be available to help us with door-to-door delivery of CTC info in your neighbourhood, please let Cherri know at bobbackland@ica.net . It takes about an hour to deliver to 100 front doors, and walking is great exercise!

And last but not least, if you are able to contribute some time to get more involved with the CTC, please contact info@cleantrain.ca at any time so we can plug you in!

Happy New Year and let’s hope it’s an electric one!
The Clean Train Coalition
info@cleantrain.ca