The QP Clip: Mulcair on clogged railways

The exchange you can’t miss from this afternoon’s Question Period
FILE - In this June 27, 2002 file photo, an Amtrak train heads down the tracks in Middlesex, Vt. The state of Vermont would like to restore passenger rail service to Montreal within three years. Amtrak used to run a train called "The Montrealer" from Washington to Montreal through Vermont, following the route of the train now known as "The Vermonter," which ends in St. Albans. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Gerry Ritz has, for weeks, hemmed and hawed at opposition questions about grain producers who can’t get their product to market because railways are just moving too darn slowly. The government will take action, says its agriculture minister. He’s meeting with all the people who matter, he insists. He believes in action more than rhetoric, unlike the rhetoric-inspired members opposite. Presumably, he’ll stand one day and announce a plan. Nothing yet.

Today, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair stood and, for the first time, made the choked railways his top priority in QP. Who responded? Not the prime minister, who was absent; not Ritz; not even Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, who probably ought to have more to say about the file. No, the Tories sent up Pierre Lemieux, Ritz’s parliamentary secretary, to welcome the NDP leader to the debate and advance the government’s talking points yet another day. Later, Raitt did respond to a pair of Liberal questions. Apparently, Mulcair’s not worthy of her attention.