Transportation Committee Chair Promises Parliamentary Hearing Over Holiday Travel Chaos

Ottawa. Photo courtesy of the WTTC.
Ottawa. Photo courtesy of the WTTC.

The news of Canadians travelling by both air and rail ending up stranded over the holidays didn’t fly under the radar of Canadian politicians, and now, parliamentarians are demanding answers from Sunwing and VIA Rail.

Liberal MP Peter Schiefke, who is the chair of the federal government’s transportation and infrastructure committee, tweeted 03JAN that he’s going to call both companies onto the carpet about how many Canadians’ disastrous holiday travels. 

“I will be convening a meeting of the transport committee and will be calling on VIA Rail and Sunwing to appear,” Schiefke tweeted. “Canadians deserve answers for the unacceptable delays and cancellations seen over the holiday season.”

The parliamentarian didn’t set a date for the inquiry into travel meltdowns following severe winter weather, particularly in Ontario and Quebec. 

Thousands of Sunwing pax were stuck in destination as flights were unable to return them home on schedule, and VIA Rail passengers were stranded for over 20 hours on a train with nearly no food, water or operating lavatories in eastern Ontario which VIA told Global News was due to a ‘perfect storm’ of problems “from power outages to trees on the tracks and even a tree falling on a locomotive.”

In both cases, as well as other incidents of travel delays and cancellations during the holidays, suppliers have assured media and customers that impacted pax will receive compensation. 

But that’s not good enough for many angry travellers and their elected officials, who expected better. 

During the height of the travel mess, Transport Canada and the Minister of Transport stepped into the chaos, calling airline delays and cancellations “completely unacceptable.”  

In the weeks leading up to the holidays, Ottawa had convened industry leaders to ensure that the chaos of summer travel wouldn’t be repeated during the spike in Christmas holiday travel.


Lynn Elmhirst


With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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