NORTH BAY – The Liberal government’s failure to consult Northerners on their planned dismantling of Ontario Northland is creating economic instability in the region, PC Northern Development Critic Norm Miller and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said today.
Miller and Fedeli completed a two-day, 1,600-kilometre, seven-community tour to hear from Ontario Northland stakeholders and community leaders.
Level of service, pricing, and whether service will be there at all for rail freight customers were the common concerns voiced during the tour. Northern leaders said those are critical for existing industries and future prospects.
Miller and Fedeli also heard that the ambiguity from the government has led to capital expenditures being frozen and global companies making plans based on speculation and planning for worst-case scenarios because no one’s talking to them.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty out there, a lot of rumours. Northerners need to know what plans the government has for the ONTC,” said Miller
“We heard loud and clear that Northerners want to be part of the decision-making process going forward”.
Fedeli added this has been an unbelievably informative and fascinating tour of the forestry and mining heartland of Ontario. “Everyone understands ONTC has to change, and cannot stay the same. But a fire sale was not the way to go,” said Fedeli. “This was an extraordinary opportunity to have so many mayors of the North participate in roundtables and express their concerns. I think this is something all parties should do”.