QUEEN’S PARK – Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson says the Liberal government’s recent announcement about the Northern Policy Institute has little to do with helping the North.
“As per usual, this government is putting politics ahead of people,” said Bisson. “What the North needs now is real action, and real investment in the future. We don’t need more studies about what the North needs.”
The Northern Policy Institute was created to monitor and report back to government on the implementation of the Liberal “Growth Plan for Northern Ontario.” It will operate as a independent organization, although initial funding came from the provincial government.
“The $5 million McGuinty is spending on this political game could have been invested in preserving the ONTC, improving healthcare, or otherwise directly improving life in the North,” said Bisson. “The original Northern Growth Plan called for investment in integrated transportation, and yet we are days away from losing the Northlander train, and the ONTC isn’t far being.”
The Institute is supposed to make policy recommendations to government about northern issues.
“This has nothing to do with making northern voices heard. The North has plenty of voices down at Queen’s Park; McGuinty just doesn’t like what they have to say,” said Bisson. “This is all about appearing to take action on northern issues, instead of actually tackling the challenges and investing in the North.”