Strang calls for Bartolucci's resignationFriday, August 17, 2012 by: Kate Adams
North Bay and Area Chamber of Commerce
After yesterday’s announcement that the Northlander would cease passenger operations on September 28th and that the ONTERA operations would soon go to RFQ, the mood in the region is that of disappointment and uncertainty.
Many groups including the union, the Mayor’s, the Chambers, businesses, other political parties, rail supporters and numerous others have come together in the north to ask for details, provide solutions and discuss options, yet the McGuinty Government is still not listening or wanting to discuss.
President John Strang stated with disgust today that “Minister Bartolucci has failed all northerners and I believe it’s time he tendered his resignation as Minister of Northern Development and Mines, as it is apparent that the north does not matter”.
“It seems that the government may have been feeling the pressure and as such announced yesterday the demise of the Northlander and the request for qualifications for Ontera, yet the Ministry of Infrastructure can’t even provide the details of what the RFQ will look like.” stated Strang.
Strang continued that “the very Minister that should stand up for the north, has proven he doesn’t even understand the effect this will have on jobs in the north, development in the north and all the spin-off businesses and families will be hurt by this announcement.” It was purported in the news that when asked how many jobs this would affect, the Minister was quoted as saying “bbecause of bumping rights and discussions between ONTC and the unions, it's too early to speculate”. The ONTC and unions are confident to state that 63 positions that could be affected by the Northlander cancellation.
“It would be prudent that the Minister has all his information at hand and correct, when announcing these decisions. No wonder there is a feeling of angst and not knowing what the future holds for these employees and their families. Even on the front page of the newspaper the other day, we could see the affect this has on the families of the employees.” stated Strang, as he was referencing an entrepreneur in the City who was now closing her business as her husband has now accepted a job down south.
Northern Ontario is full of resources and the government should be “ashamed of turning their backs on northern voters”, Strang commented.