Thursday, April 23, 2009

Canadian Forces and Veterans Honoured with Free VIA Rail Travel

Offer expanded to include VIA1 Class and Sleeper

Ottawa, April 22, 2009 – Canadian Forces personnel and veterans will be able to get free, unlimited rail travel during the month of July. The announcement which celebrates the contribution and sacrifices of Canada’s military personnel and veterans was made at the Ottawa Train Station by the Honourable Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport), along with his colleagues, John Baird, Canada’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister and the Member of Parliament for Ottawa West—Nepean, the Honourable Josee Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie, The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, and the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Each active or retired Canadian Forces member or veteran may bring up to five immediate family members with them, at a 50% discount off the applicable Comfort class fare. In addition this year, VIA is offering a 50% discount to all personnel and their family members off the regular adult fare in Business, Sleeper and Touring classes.

“As Minister responsible for VIA Rail, I fully support VIA’s initiative to continue to honour Canadian Forces personnel and their families with these special fares.” said Minister Merrifield. “If last year’s response can be taken as an indicator, this is an offer that will be truly appreciated and enjoyed.”

“I’m proud to be a part of a Government that, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, both honours Canada’s bravest and encourages them and their families to enjoy recreational time touring the country that they serve and protect,” said Minister Baird. “This is a good news story for all Canadians where we can say thank you for those who are and were involved in the defence of our great country.”

“Canada’s men and women in uniform, and their families, will continue to be appreciative of the support they have received from VIA Rail,” said Minister MacKay. “This initiative will allow them to visit more of the country and meet the people whom they have committed to defend.”

“VIA Rail and our government are proud to pay tribute to this history,“ said Minister Thompson. “We are proud to be offering our servicemen and women – past and present – with the chance to see more of the great country they helped build.”

“The success of last year’s program exceeded our expectations,” said VIA Rail’s President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Côté. “VIA is proud to recognize the contribution and sacrifices made by the men and women of the Canadian Forces. This special program offers an experience of our country that only the train can provide.”

In 2008, some 60,000 current or retired Canadian Forces personnel took advantage of VIA’s initiative to honour them with a special fare

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