Privatizing Ontario Northland will kill 1,000 jobs in the North
Vanthof brings North Bay motion to Ontario Legislature.
TORONTO, ON, March 27, 2012: In response to a massive public outcry from affected communities, Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP John Vanthof rose in the Ontario Legislature to call on Premier McGuinty to halt plans to privatise the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC).
"All across the North, municipal councils are up in arms over the elimination of the Ontario Northland. North Bay City council has unanimously adopted a motion calling on this Premier to honour his pledge not to allow the privatization of the ONTC," said Vanthof, asking, "Premier, will you listen to the people of the North and announce you're abandoning your misguided plan to close down Ontario Northland?"
"Many feel that closing the ONTC was this government's plan all along."
Ontario Northland is a lifeline for northerners, who depend on it to move freight and passengers. The ONTC employs nearly 1,000 people across the North.
In response to the announced closure, Al Spacek, President of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities said, "You cannot imagine my shock and disappointment. It's not just the horrible ramifications this divestiture has for the people of Northern Ontario, it was also the way this decision was arrived at — in Toronto behind closed doors without any input from Northerners who are most impacted."
Despite significant protest from across the North, "many feel that closing the ONTC was this government's plan all along," explained Vanthof. "Why else was a lucrative refurbishment contract given to a Quebec firm last year when the work could have been done in North Bay?"
Vanthof called on the Liberals to immediately stop their plans to kill the ONTC, and devise a plan that works for Ontario's north.
"Why is the Premier making closed door decisions that will make life harder for thousands of families in Northern Ontario? Why isn't the Premier listening to Northern Ontario families?" demanded Vanthof.