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12/1/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

B.C. labor federation: Province 'giving away' BC Rail, hundreds of railroad jobs


The British Columbia Federation of Labor opposes the province’s BC Rail Ltd. deal with Canadian National Railway Co. and plans to file an objection with the Canada Competition Bureau, which soon will review the transaction.

The Class I’s plan to pay British Columbia $1 billion in cash to acquire the 1,400-mile regional’s outstanding shares and the right to operate over BC Rail’s roadbed under a long-term lease is a low-ball offer, federation officials believe.

"The [province’s] own documents show this railroad to be worth $2 billion and [they] just gave it away," said federation President Jim Sinclair in a prepared statement. "The only winner in this deal is CN while the communities served by BC Rail have been betrayed — even worse is the $250 million of taxpayer’s money to subsidize the deal."

Federation officials also dispute the deal’s projected 430 job losses because their own study estimates that figure to be significantly higher.

"Over 750 employees at BC Rail are being laid off and only this government would claim that is a good news story," said Sinclair.


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