September 23, 2009 15:32 ET

Panel Selected for Rail Freight Service Review

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 23, 2009) - The Honourable Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport), today announced the appointment of a panel to conduct Phase II of the rail freight service review. The review is examining Canada's rail-based logistics system (including shippers, terminal operators, ports and vessels), focusing on service provided to Canadian shippers and customers.

The rail freight service review is being conducted in two stages. The first stage, which is currently underway, consists of analytical work to achieve a better understanding of the state of rail service. The second stage will be led by a panel that will develop recommendations and submit a final report to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Minister Merrifield announced that the panel will be made up of:

- Mr. Walter Paszkowski, who is appointed chair and has an extensive public policy background;

- Mr. David Edison, who has extensive railway experience; and

- Mr. William (Bill) LeGrow, who has extensive experience as a rail shipper.

"This is a very important undertaking for Canada's rail transportation system, which will require consultation with key stakeholders, including the users and providers of rail transportation services," said Minister Merrifield. "We appreciate the panellists' willingness to undertake this challenge, and we look forward to their report and recommendations."

The panel will propose recommendations to address problems and issues with respect to service within the rail-based logistics system. The recommendations will be based on the results of analytical work conducted under Phase I, consultations with stakeholders, and any other relevant information and findings. The recommendations may include both commercial and, if necessary, regulatory solutions. The recommendations will be aimed at improving the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of service within the system, facilitating economic growth and trade expansion, and improving accountability among stakeholders. The panel has been requested to submit its final report in

Efficient rail freight service is one of the backbones of a strong economy and is crucial for domestic and international trade. Through the rail freight service review, the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canada's rail system remains world-class.

The biographies of the rail freight service review panel members are attached. The terms of reference for the review panel can be accessed at the website established for the review, online at The panel will be issuing a call letter for submissions in due course.

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Walter Paszkowski has had long and distinguished political and agri-business careers, and has provided a significant contribution to his community, county and the Province of Alberta.

Mr. Paszkowski's political career began as a school trustee, progressing to municipal councillor, to Mayor of Sexsmith and finally as a member of the Alberta Legislature in 1989. Mr. Paszkowski served in the Alberta legislature until his retirement from provincial politics in March 2001.

During his political career, Mr. Paszkowski served as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Minister responsible for the Land Compensation Board (1993-1997), Minister of Transportation and Utilities, and Minister responsible for Public Safety Services (1997-1999) and Minister of Municipal Affairs (1999-2001). During this time, Mr. Paszkowski led or was involved in a number of international missions to promote trade with Canada.

Mr. Paszkowski has been involved in a vast number of agri-business and community interests. Of particular note was his contribution to the development and growth of the canola industry by serving as a director and a chair of the Canola Council of Canada, director and president of the Alberta Canola Growers, and founding director of the Northern Alberta Rapeseed Crushing Plant and Northern Lite Canola Ltd.

Mr. Paszkowski established the Economic Development Office for the County of Grande Prairie and serves as the County's economic development officer.

Mr. Paszkowski is a director of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, where he chairs the audit committee and serves on the human resources committee.

Among his numerous awards and recognitions, Mr. Paszkowski received a lifetime member and achievement award from the Canola Council of Canada, was awarded Canada's 125th Anniversary Medal, as well as the Alberta Centennial Medal and was recognized as one of the 50 Most Influential Albertans in 2006.

Mr. Paszkowski, in partnership with his son, is owner and operator of a family seed farm and retail seed outlet in Sexsmith, Alberta.


David Edison has had 40 years of experience in rail operations and senior management with Canadian National Railway. During his career, Mr. Edison held progressively senior positions with the company in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta.
Mr. Edison served as vice-president, Pacific Division, headquartered in Vancouver, overseeing Canadian National Railway's operations and sales activities in British Columbia and Alberta, including the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

Mr. Edison was appointed vice-president, Corporate, in July 2003 and led Canadian National Railway's consolidation and integration of the Canadian National Railway and BC Rail partnership. These responsibilities included train service adjustment, realignment of rail yards in North Vancouver, Squamish and Prince George, reconnection of Canadian National's Hythe-Dawson Creek line and workforce planning.

Prior to his retirement in late 2004, Mr. Edison was active on the boards of the Western Transportation Advisory Council, the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council and the Business Council of British Columbia.

Mr. Edison resides in Surrey, British Columbia.


William H. (Bill) LeGrow has significant industry experience in the rail freight industry spanning a 37-year career that included progressively senior positions with both Canadian National Railway and with West Fraser Mills Ltd. Most recently, Mr. LeGrow served as vice-president of Transportation and Energy with West Fraser Mills Ltd., a position he held from 1999 until his retirement in 2008.

Mr. LeGrow has significant experience in both shipper and railway freight transportation environments. He has been involved in rate negotiations, regulatory reviews as an industry and a shipper association representative, and in initiating and leading regulatory challenges as a shipper, under provisions of the Canada Transportation Act.

In the mid-80s, through several softwood lumber trade challenges and related disputes, Mr. LeGrow was an active industry participant providing technical advice on implementation, documentation and United States customs procedures, serving on several technical committees and providing policy advice to both the British Columbia and the federal governments.

Mr. LeGrow has extensive experience in regulatory filing procedures and hearings before the British Columbia Utilities Commission, representing West Fraser and as a representative of the Joint Industry Electricity Steering Committee of electrical consumers in British Columbia.

Mr. LeGrow resides in Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Contact Information

  • Chris Hilton
    Office of Minister of State (Transport)
    Rob Merrifield, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    Transport Canada, Ottawa