Summerside joining fight to get rid of Confederation Bridge toll
'Islanders have to really start to speak up,' says city councillor
Summerside city council is getting behind the fight to eliminate the Confederation Bridge toll. Council recently met after being inspired by flyers distributed in the local paper from P.E.I. Senator Percy Downe outlining his arguments on the issue.
Downe has been fighting vehemently to remove the toll since the federal government made a promise in the last election campaign to completely subsidize the cost of Montreal's new $4 billion Champlain Bridge, and to not charge a toll.
The federal government has argued that situation is different because the Champlain Bridge was replacing an old bridge that did not have tolls.
Summerside Coun. Norma McColeman took away one clear message from the pamphlet.
There's a lot of people that would come here and would love to spend the time here.— Coun . Norma McColeman
"Islanders have to really start to speak up," she said.
"We're Canadians and we deserve to have a connection to the mainland of Canada. As Canadians, we shouldn't have to pay for that connection to the Trans-Canada Highway."
Worries for Summerside
McColeman worries that the toll is affecting tourism for the Island, and Summerside's economic development.
"There's a lot of people that would come here and would love to spend the time here," she said.
"We might have more opportunities for businesses to come here. But if it involves trucking and transportation and tolls back and forth, say if they're coming a number of times a day, that becomes detrimental."
McColeman said the council is encouraging any other group that wants to get involved to do so. The council will also put forward a motion at their next meeting to officially begin to lobby government to eliminate the toll.
McColeman said they hope to make it an election issue in both the provincial and upcoming federal elections.