News

Bartolucci challenges northern MPPs on ONTC facts

Thursday, July 19, 2012   by: Kate AdamsMinister Northern Development and Mines Rick Bartolucci
News Release

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As elected officials, MPPs should ensure their constituents are apprised of the facts. With regard to the planned divestment of the ONTC, Northern MPPs Vic Fedeli, Norm Miller, Gilles Bisson and John Vanthof have not.

There’s a saying, ‘Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts.’ These MPPs say one thing when in the North and do another when at Queen’s Park.

I met with Fedeli twice on this issue and at no time did he ask the government to stop divestment. Since this announcement was made last March, Fedeli had 248 opportunities in the Legislature during Question Period to challenge our government on this. Not once did he do so. He hasn’t been clear on what he would do if his party formed government and whether he would be supported by his party, including his boss, Tim Hudak.

None of the other MPPs mentioned here have asked to meet with me.

NDP MPPs Vanthof and Bisson did not vote against the divestment via the provincial budget process. During her visit to the North this week, NDP leader Andrea Horwath admitted that she was not willing to go to an election over it.

When in government the NDP cut subsidies by $5 million, closed ONTC’s trucking business (Star Transfer), reduced bus service, reduced passenger train service and eliminated plane service (NorOntair) to several Northern communities. The PCs sold NorOntair, reduced annual subsidies by $11 million and tried to pull the plug on the ONTC altogether.

The facts about the planned divestment can be found at www.mndm.gov.on.ca . In the meantime:

• No other government has worked harder to make the ONTC viable – we’ve provided two times the funding provided by the previous two governments combined - and we’ve explored sustainability options. Not only has the North never been forgotten by our government, it’s always been very much on the radar - with strong northern ministers and MPPs with deep Northern Ontario roots working hard for this great region.

• Ridership is almost without exception below 50 per cent capacity. The services are under-used and subsidies are unsustainably high - at a rate not seen elsewhere in Ontario. The subsidy per Northlander rider is roughly $400.

• The need for sky-rocketing subsidies in excess of $100 million per year will continue to grow if we do not act now.

• We’ve always said bus service would continue for communities without other transportation options and that the Polar Bear Express would continue.

• In the current fiscal environment, we must ensure tax dollars protect effective Northern programs such as our $100 million Northern Ontario Heritage Fund which supports job creation projects throughout our region.

• There is substantial private sector interest in ONTC. We will proceed carefully with an eye to ensuring maximum opportunities for Northerners.

• Staff from my Ministry and the Ministry of Transportation has met with companies with questions regarding freight rail services. These companies will be invited to participate in our comprehensive Multi-Modal Transportation Strategy.

• Currently, we are working with Northern stakeholders to develop this strategy to meet present and future Northern transportation needs in a sustainable manner. We are about positioning our great region for further growth by moving forward.

Sincerely
Rick Bartolucci, Minister
Northern Development and Mines

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dgl1 7/19/2012 8:01:02 AM Report

What an arrogant S.O.B. I'd like to see this idiot come to North Bay or any other community affected by his brain dead decision.
dealer 7/19/2012 8:37:18 AM Report

Vic must be 1 powerful guy....does ANYONE really think Bart and Dalton would change their minds about divestment if Vic challenged them....anyone?

This decision BY THE LIBERALS was made long ago when moe was our mpp.

dgl1....bart may be alot of things(and he is!!) but stupid is not 1 of them...there is NO WAY he would show his face anywhere near North Bay!
wolfden 7/19/2012 10:15:13 AM Report

Perhaps the Liberals will be a little more transparent with the plans to move ahead......
I agree the decision to begin the divestment was in place long before this year. If the subsidy of $400.00 per train passenger is not being spent on rail,then we should all see where that $400.00 subsidy is going to be spent.
whaaazz up 7/19/2012 11:04:01 AM Report

Bartolucci is a "Traitor to the North"
and should be removed from office.
No Money for the O.N.T.C ????????
Where did they get the Money for the
E Health Boondoggle?? Where did they get the Billions for the All Day Kindergarten
( In reality Free Baby sitting) ?????
Where did they get the Hundreds of Millions for the LHINS ??? A bunch of over
paid beurocrats that don;t know a tongue
depressor from a suppository .Where did they get the Billions wasted on their
"Green Energy Plan " that is driving
Industry from the North and making those
on fixed incomes to Freeze in the winter
??????????. Just yesterday we learned of the One hundred and eighty million
wasted on moving a gas generated power plant and then we learned of an additional 10 million dollars of hush
money ,making the cost one hundred and
ninety million and you can be sure that's all they are admitting to.
Don;t forget this was money spent to
save the seats of his Liberal pals.
Where did they get the Hundreds of
Millions of Dollars wasted on the Ornge
fiasco????? If those responsible for
for this mess don't do some hard time
for what appears to be Criminal activities then there is no justice at
all. So Bartolucci total all that up and then come on over to North Bay,Bring
your lieing two faced leader with you and explain why there is no money for
The O.N.T.C.





dgl1 7/19/2012 11:42:57 AM Report

Bart is doing what he is renowned to do. Take from the north and give to sudsbury. That two faced porkitician couln't care less about the north. he's lining his pockets now so that when he get's turfed out of office (which he will) he'll look after himself.
How ignorant of him to announce that the smelter is going in his riding but to secure it he is negotiating a better hydro deal. Bart, where the hell were you when Xtrata wanted a better deal, where the hell are you when Fabrene is asking for a better deal. Oh, that's right, you're hiding in your nickle plated office.
You are nothing but a coward.
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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of BayToday.ca. Keep discussions civil and on topic. Refrain from obscenity and don't post anything that your grandmother would be ashamed to read. Those who do not abide by these guidelines will have their membership revoked without notice. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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