Sunwing and VIA Rail executives could be summoned to Ottawa

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Executives of Sunwing and VIA Rail could be summoned to Ottawa

Liberal MP Peter Schiefke tweeted on Tuesday that he plans to call a meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport.

The chairman of the House of Commons Transport Committee wants to ask the heads of Sunwing and VIA Rail to come and explain publicly what has given thousands of Canadian travelers nightmares over the holidays.

Liberal MP Peter Schiefke wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that he plans to call a meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport so that representatives from both carriers can come and answer questions from MPs in Ottawa.

Mr. Schiefke believes that Canadians deserve answers for the unacceptable delays and cancellations during the holiday season.

This tweet was quickly shared by Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra. It will be an important discussion. Canadians deserve answers!, added the minister on Twitter.

Hundreds of travelers found themselves stranded in Mexico over the holiday season, after Sunwing canceled their flight from return. Travelers have also accused the carrier and tour operator of not communicating well with affected passengers.

Sunwing announced last week that it was canceling all flights from Regina and Saskatoon airports, through early February, due to extenuating circumstances.

Minister Alghabra described as the situation at Sunwing is unacceptable. But he also raised concerns that VIA Rail passengers had been stranded for hours as a winter storm hit parts of Ontario and Quebec.

< p class="e-p">Many trains scheduled to run on Christmas Eve have been cancelled, and VIA Rail says a CN train derailment prompted more cancellations on Christmas Day and then the following day.

A VIA Rail spokesperson said Tuesday evening that the company would respond favorably to a request from the committee to explain which led to the situation last month.

Air travel was the source of many complaints throughout 2022 as the industry witnessed the widespread return of domestic and international travel following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Problems at airports, including lost luggage and long delays, have been partly blamed on a shortage of staff.

And that was without counting the long delays waiting at passport offices. Service Canada has struggled to catch up with a backlog of applications that has built up over the first two years of the pandemic.

Conservative MP Mark Strahl, who is a member of the Commons Transport Standing Committee, said on Tuesday that his party wanted Minister Alghabra to also answer for what happened over the holiday break.

He broke his promise to fix the system and Canadians paid the price, he argued on Twitter.

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