Premier Ford on Northern Ontario Issues – May 9, 2020

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THUNDER BAY – During Premier Ford’s May 9, 2020 press conference, NetNewsLedger was able to ask two questions.

Our first question was on the issue of intercity bus transportation in Northwestern Ontario. Right now from White River to Kenora and points in between there is no service. ONTC was going to run from White River to Thunder Bay starting in April, but have delayed that service and have not announced when the company plans to initiate that service.

Kasper Transportation and then Greyhound Canada as private bus companies have suspended operation due to economic reasons.

As it is likely even as transportation companies start running again there will remain social distancing restrictions. It is likely transportation companies at all levels are going to need continued and long term support to maintain their services.

NetNewsLedger spoke on Thursday with federal Minister of Health Patty Hajdu who says there is federal funding available to ensure bus transportation can continue.

The Premier states he is going to raise the issue with Prime Minister Trudeau and Deputy PM Freeland.

Our second question was on the growing problems in Northern Ontario presented by Southern Ontario gangs coming into the North and spreading their illegal drugs and violence.

The OPP and the Thunder Bay Police Service have been making a number of arrests and putting some of these gangsters into jail.

The Premier has previously announced funding for Toronto for Guns and Gangs units.

Premier Ford says that there is an announcement coming soon related to the OPP.

The Premier also states that what he hears that is really frustrating for police officers is how these criminals are getting out, sometimes even within days of being arrested.