NEWS
05/01/2014 11:49 EDT | Updated 07/01/2014 05:59 EDT

John Baird calls for new Via Rail leadership

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is calling for new leadership at Via Rail after a series of malfunctions at level railway crossings in his Ottawa neighbourhood in recent months.

Baird made the call on Twitter Thursday night, saying he has lost confidence in the acting head of the Crown corporation, Steve Del Bosco.

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A government source says Baird has been annoyed with how Via Rail has been communicating with the public and the city about technical malfunctions at level railway crossings in an Ottawa suburb.

For months, warning signals at several crossings in Barrhaven have repeatedly malfunctioned. The crossings are close to where six people were killed when an Ottawa city bus collided with a Via passenger train in September last year.

The government source says the final straw for Baird came this week when Via Rail mistakenly accused local Ottawa transit buses of causing recent signal malfunctions at a crossing near Baird's home.

Via later admitted that the rail signal problems were not caused by OC Transpo buses.

The source says Baird has expressed his concerns to both Del Bosco and to the minister responsible for Via — Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.