Canadian National is too important for Canada to remain a private company – by Taylor C. Noakes (Toronto Star – March 17, 2023)

Taylor C. Noakes is a public historian and independent journalist.

If railways are so strategically vital to the economy that the federal government is encouraged to use “every tool at their disposal” to prevent a strike, then the time has come to renationalize Canadian National.

From 1919 to 1995 CN was publicly-owned for the simple reason that a national railway network was so strategically important to the nation’s economy it simply could not be left in the hands of the private sector. Railways are no less vital today, and the climate emergency will only make them that much more valuable.

An important threshold has been crossed when the workers of a given industry or service are considered so essential they are legally prohibited from exercising the essential right to strike.

Railroad workers are not normally considered to be as essential as nurses, for example, but the rail industry and its allies habitually insinuate an economic catastrophe would occur should railroad workers ever go on strike.

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