On the 45th Anniversary of the Western Transportation Advisory Council (WESTAC) Transportation Leaders Discuss Incremental System Change in Winnipeg
May 07, 2018 | Category: Forum Advisory
Winnipeg, MB – May 4, 2018 – Over 50 of Canada’s leading transportation organizations gathered in Winnipeg for the Western Transportation Advisory Council (WESTAC) Spring Member Forum. Shippers, railways, ports and terminals, governments and labour leaders discussed opportunities for incremental improvement of the system using policy, data, communication and creative business solutions. WESTAC forums promote a systems approach to understanding transportation challenges and to finding solutions that will improve the competitiveness of the system as a whole.
Hon. Ron Schuler, Minister of Infrastructure, Government of Manitoba and 2018/19 Chair of WESTAC welcomed all Members to the 45thAnnual WESTAC Member Forum. The two-day event included presentations and discussions on some of the more pressing issues within the transportation sector in Western Canada.
WESTAC was pleased to welcome four provincial and territorial Ministers to the event. Each Minister offered comments on the state of transportation in their jurisdiction and the region.
· Hon. David Marit, Minister of Highways & Infrastructure, Government of Saskatchewan
· Hon. Richard Mostyn, Minister of Highways and Public Works, Government of Yukon
· Hon. Ron Schuler, Minister of Infrastructure, Government of Manitoba
· Hon. Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Government of BC
The Forum began with economist Dan Ciuriak, who presented his outlook for the future of trade confidence and the status of some of Canada’s most critical trade agreements. Given Canada’s trade-dependent economy and Western Canada’s significant role in exporting our goods, this topic is vital. Dan suggested that the US is the epicentre of pressure points on world trade and is pushing a disruptive change agenda, with the ultimate goal to push change in the world economic order.
The rail service session presented diverging viewpoints on contentious subject-matter. Presenters and panelists offered perspectives on many areas of rail service and policy including the Maximum Revenue Entitlement (MRE), Long-Haul Interswitching, captive shippers, investment by railways, Bill C-49 and other topics. The goal of the session was to share multiple viewpoints and to build some common understanding of the issues at hand.
The Leaders Council session on day two explored the issues more thoroughly with a robust conversation amongst the senior most leaders at WESTAC on the challenges and opportunities surrounding rail service in Western Canada.
On the occasion of our 45th Anniversary, WESTAC Chair Hon. Ron Schuler and WESTAC President and CEO Oksana Exell reminded participants about the roots of this organization, the spirit of sharing information and collaboration. Although many of the problems facing the system today are reminiscent of the challenges discussed in the past, there is still merit in transportation leaders continuing to build understanding and share information for the betterment of the system.
The Western Transportation Advisory Council, WESTAC is a Council of major transportation organizations, represented by senior business, labour, and government decision-makers. The members focus on critical issues that affect Western Canada’s freight transportation network to ensure that it is safe, efficient, reliable and competitive.