BRACEBRIDGE, ON – More than six years after promising a strategy to create an integrated transportation infrastructure system for Northern Ontario, the Wynne government finally released their draft Northern Ontario Multimodal Transportation Strategy yesterday. “The promises sound great but I caution Northerners to read this carefully. While the government is saying the things many people want to hear, there are caveats like ‘Four-lane or twin segments of the Trans-Canada Highway’,” said Norm Miller.
Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka and opposition critic for Northern Development and Mines, pointed out that this strategy was promised in the Northern Ontario Growth Plan released in March of 2011.
“If it takes them six years to write a draft strategy, imagine how long it will take them to actually build a road or fulfill any of the 37 promises found in this document,” said Miller. “The goals and directions listed in this document all sound good. But it is all words and no action – and we know what this government’s words are worth.”
The strategy’s goals are good, such as Goal 4 which says “Anticipate and respond to economic, technological, environmental and social change to link people, resources and businesses.” If this government had anticipated and responded to the opportunities in the North, they would have started to build roads or rail to the Ring of Fire years ago.
Since the Northern Growth Plan was released in 2011, the population of Northern Ontario has declined by 10,000 and both part-time and full-time jobs have been lost.
“Northern Ontario needs a real commitment all the time, not just when an election is looming,” said Miller.