Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski wants to see Air Canada keep at least one flight per day between the two cities.
As of April 29th, the national air carrier has stopped offering flights between Cranbrook and Calgary, saying the route no longer made commercial sense.
In response, Stetski sponsored a local petition that was started by Cranbrook's William McKerrow and urged everyone in the region to sign it.
At the petition's conclusion, 541 signatures had been returned and submitted to Transportation Minister Marc Garneau, asking him to recommend that Air Canada maintain services.
“From the number of constituents who supported this petition in just a short time, it’s clear that it is important to the residents of Kootenay—Columbia that transportation options in the region are maintained,” said Stetski. “We’re still facing gaps from the departure of Greyhound bus service in 2018 and we need reliable, frequent and competitive regional airline service, not just for tourist travel but also to allow residents to have options to travel for business, medical and other essential services.”
The MP hopes to hear back from Minister Garneau by the end of the summer, but until then, he says he will continue to highlight the need for competitive regional airline services.
“Residents of Cranbrook and surrounding areas are facing ever-growing barriers in accessing essential services such as treatment options in areas such as mental health, addictions, and health care in general,” said McKerrow on the reasons why he initiated the petition," adds Stetski. “Although our East Kootenay Regional Hospital is expanding, there is still a gap in services, which leaves residents having to access outside communities. Additionally, it leaves residents of our rural communities further isolated.”
453 of the signatures came from those residing in B.C., while 42 Albertans and 28 Ontarians also put their names forward.