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

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.

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 9, 2016

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose.

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.”