Justin Trudeau should never have lifted toll on Champlain Bridge: Rona Ambrose

Teresa Wright
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Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should never have promised to eliminate the toll on the Champlain Bridge in Montrea.

Lifting the toll has sparked controversy in P.E.I., where residents and visitors must pay $46 to leave the province via the Confederation Bridge.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should never have promised to eliminate the toll on the Champlain Bridge in Montreal, says interim federal Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose.

Making that promise in the middle of the election campaign put the bridge’s $4-billion price tag onto the shoulders of Canadian taxpayers and created a problem with Montreal residents now given preferential treatment over Prince Edward Islanders, Ambrose said Monday.

“I think the toll should be imposed on the Champlain Bridge,” she said.

“The reason why the decision was made that there would be a toll was because it made it affordable for Canadians …. it was not a high toll and it was a way to show Canadians that yes, your tax dollars are going to build this bridge, because it is a federal bridge, but we’re going to try to recoup some of that money for you.”

Lifting the toll on the Champlain Bridge has sparked controversy in Prince Edward Island, where residents and visitors must pay $46 to leave the province via the $1 billion Confederation Bridge.

Liberal P.E.I. Senator Percy Downe has been pushing for Ottawa to lift the toll on the Confederation Bridge to P.E.I. in an attempt to see Prince Edward Islanders receive equal treatment as the citizens of Quebec.

He is calling for a resolution to be passed in the P.E.I. legislature calling on the federal government to treat P.E.I. fairly and lift the Confederation Bridge toll. Ambrose says Trudeau’s decision to eliminate the toll on the Champlain Bridge was a case of playing favourites and has worked to pit the two jurisdictions against one another.

As for what to do now, Ambrose says it “will be up to (Trudeau) to fix it.”

“He has created this inequality and this imbalance in the federation between one project and another,” she said.

“I think it was very irresponsible of him to do that .... I think it’s not the way you run a country.”

 

Geographic location: Montreal, Prince Edward Island, Prince Edward Islanders Ottawa Quebec

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  • Quiet Observer
    February 10, 2016 - 09:42

    It would not require the breaking of the deal with SCI to get rid of bridge tolls. All it would take would be the federal government pay them instead of the users. SCI doesn't care who it gets its money from.

  • Newfoundlander living in PEI
    February 10, 2016 - 07:46

    If they ever remove the toll from the Confederation Bridge, then all ferries between provinces should be free as well. That means that all of these ferries should be free with their fares covered by the federal government: North Sydney to Port aux Basques ($150 one way for a car & 1 adult), North Sydney to Argentia ($350 one way for a car & 1 adult), Wood Islands to Caribou ($75 for a car & passengers), Digby to Saint John ($155 for a car & 1 adult), Souris to Cap aux Meules ($145 for a car & 1 adult). It makes the Confederation Bridge toll seem like a bargain, don't it? And our taxes nation-wide would only have to go up a tiny bit to make all these ferries free, in addition to the Confederation Bridge and the Champlain Bridge.

  • To Kyle
    February 09, 2016 - 18:34

    Hey Kyle, The deal was made a few years ago too that Champlain bridge users would pay their toll to use the bridge and avoid the tunnel. If you're going to break the Montreal deal, I don't see any problem with breaking the Borden deal! Long story short, Trudeau obviously shouldn't have promised it. And this is me as a Liberal speaking because when he announced it all I could think of is "oh boy, wait till the Island hears about this!" I know plenty of people from Halifax/Cape Breton etc looking for a summer getaway and they choose Moncton over PEI every time unless they absolutely have to come here. They have more options in Moncton, it is cheaper to stay in Moncton, and when you get to the Aulac exit, you have the option to drive 30 minutes one way to Moncton with no additional tolls, opposed to an additional 2+ hours to take the PEI/Port Elgin exit and head to Charlottetown and Cavendish. That is an extra tank of gas, a $46 bridge toll, and higher costs to do anything with less back to school shopping options for mom. If you can lift that toll, it is a big bonus to Island tourism and businesses. As well as families. So many people have relatives and health issues that they need the option to cross the bridge more frequently. $46 is a huge restraint to it. How about those university students that go to UNB, St. Marys, Dal, etc. They aren't all dodging UPEI and Holland Collegejust because. Some of them are in a program not offered at our two great schools and some left because it was more affordable (cheaper program/scholarships). That bridge FYI is a luxury and faster option for residents and people like us who are just bypassing the city heading to Ontario. I've taken it, I love it, and I thought the toll was extremely reasonable. Bottom line, if Trudeau really believes the residents of Montreal, Quebec need that break of $4.00 for a $4 billion bridge, then Prince Edward Islanders are entitled that same break for a $46 toll on a $1 billion bridge. End Rant.

    • Edward
      February 15, 2016 - 08:11

      You can't compare the traffic on both bridges nor the use of both bridges. You are talking vacationers in the case of Confederation bridge and everyday commuters in the case of Champlain bridge. Ambrose is trying to divide and conquer. Since conservatives blew it in Montreal by beeing hard headed, she is trying to score points in PEI. As for the regional topic of the conversation, how does she account for the heavy investment the Conservatives did in the Toronto metro system.

  • akakk
    February 09, 2016 - 17:13

    I guess Stephen Harpor wasn't such a bad fella after all.

    • Kyle
      February 09, 2016 - 18:49

      Ambrose never said that we shouldn`t pay but that they should pay to.

  • Dennis
    February 09, 2016 - 14:47

    Percy Downe is *not* a Liberal senator. They were all removed from caucus and sit as independents as of 2014. This kind of mistake occurs routinely in The Guardian and undermines its credibility.

  • Dave Anger
    February 09, 2016 - 14:43

    Straight crossing would soon walk away if it received the right settlement. It is totally unfair to charge islanders and not Quebecers

    • don
      February 09, 2016 - 17:45

      jt will do everything to help his home province. and besides the bridge is owned by the tax payers of Canada but the bridge on PEI/NB is owned privately. so we are stuck paying .

  • Spuddy
    February 09, 2016 - 14:12

    As an Island native who would travel home much more if he could afford it, I woukd be happy if toll were cut in half. Doesn't seem fair that our federal government can throw a province under the bus to win votes in another. But then again that's politics.

  • kyle
    February 09, 2016 - 13:46

    The deal for the pei bridge was made years ago.u can`t go breaking deals already made there would be no end to it.

    • Regular Joe
      Regular Joe
      February 10, 2016 - 17:34

      Breaking deals really ..lol . 7.5% roll back or Ocean Choice jog any ones memory ,I'm sure there are others too . The liberals have no trouble breaking deals and contracts when it suits friends of the party , so breaking the bridge deal should be small potatoes for them .