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BC Rail's future in doubt
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | 6:40 PM PT Comments22Recommend22.
CBC News

British Columbia's transportation minister says the future of one of Canada's smallest railways is under review.

Shirley Bond told the legislature Wednesday that the provincial government is examining the entire operation of Crown-owned BC Rail, but she didn't say what might happen to it.

It once was Canada's third-largest railway but now manages just a 40-kilometre spur line to the Roberts Bank coal terminal and owns some land at the ports of Vancouver and Squamish.

The provincial auditor general confirmed Tuesday that BC Rail CEO Kevin Mahoney would earn $494,182 this year, a salary above the government's cap, and Mahoney is on an indefinite contract.

New Democrat MLA John Horgan said it's a bad deal for taxpayers.

"Now, they may have a miniature train set in the boardroom, but you've got four chief executive officers making $1.2 million — no trains. Is that acceptable?"

Bond later told reporters the future of BC Rail was being reconsidered.

"What role is there to play? Is there are role to continue this particular Crown corporation? We're asking those questions now," said Bond.

The Liberal government sold most of BC Rail to CN in 2004 for $1 billion.

The sale of the railway has been the focus of a long-running corruption court case that involved the arrest of three government aides and prompted a police raid on the legislature in 2003.