Due to several rounds of budget cuts, VIA’s system timetable had shrunk from 68 pages in 1988 to 48 pages in 1996. The Canadian still ran, but on CN’s route through Jasper rather than CP’s route through Banff. CP’s Atlantic was also gone. While these cuts appeared to favor CN over CP, Canadian politicos believed they were actually designed to favor cities with heavy Liberal Party representation, while they penalized cities that had voted Conservative.
The Liberals got their comeuppance in 2004 when it was discovered that they had used VIA, among other crown corporations, to direct advertising funds that were supposed to promote Canadian industry to promote their party instead. Ironically, the Liberal Party was probably responsible for more VIA budget cuts than the Conservatives.