Via Rail CEO resigns

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

OTTAWA – The president and CEO of Via Rail has resigned.

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra accepted Cynthia Garneau’s resignation, which is effective today (May 20).

“I would like to thank Ms. Garneau for her service and her work over the past three years in contributing to the modernization of VIA Rail, and adapting VIA Rail operations during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, while always ensuring the health and safety of employees and passengers,” Alghabra said in a statement.

In a separate statement from Via Rail, Garneau says she is leaving with “a sense of accomplishment. I had given myself the objective to obtain confirmation of the HFR (high frequency rail) project, and with the procurement process now underway, my train has arrived at its destination.”

She’s leaving exactly two weeks after a meeting with a group of Cornwall-area politicians, seen as a relationship “reset” after disagreements over the company’s high frequency rail plans.

It’s not known how Garneau’s departure will affect the relationship building exercise between the railway, Duncan, Senator Bernadette Clement and Cornwall Mayor Glen Grant.

Local MP Eric Duncan had called that get together a “step in the right direction after years of frustration.”

Martin R. Landry, chief commercial affairs officer for Via Rail, will oversee the business in the interim.