McGuinty prevents Survival Express from leaving the stationTuesday, September 04, 2012 by: Kate AdamsFile Photo of Bartolucci at ONTC Not For Sale Rally April 19, 2001.
ONTC GCA News Release
Representatives from the General Chairpersonâ€™s Association (GCA) which represents all unionized employees at Ontario Northland (ONTC) are shocked by the Governments response to their request of August 22, 2012 to charter the Northlander Train on Saturday September 22, 2012 in order to thank Northernerâ€™s for their support in utilizing the passenger train over the many years.
â€śWe were notified by letter today that the McGuinty Government will not allow the GCA to charter the Northlander passenger for a planned customer appreciation trip.
Their letter says in part, â€śIn response to your request to charter a special train on September 22, 2012 ONTC is in process of discontinuing the Northlander passenger train service and will not be chartering any trains on or before September 28th, 2012â€ť stated GCA President Ron Marleau.
â€śThis is yet another example of the McGuinty Governmentâ€™s disdain for Northerners and speaks volumes about their growing concern over the mobilizing of northern communities against this governmentâ€™s illconceived plan to isolate the North. Just last week Moosonee Mayor Vic Mitchell joined the growing list of municipal leaders speaking out against the divestiture of Ontario Northlandâ€ť added Marleau.
Back on April 19, 2001 during the Mike Harris reign, the GCA charted the Northlander and branded it â€śThe Survival Expressâ€ť which left Hearst Ontario making stops along the way picking up more than a thousand northerners before arriving at Torontoâ€™s Union Station.
â€śThe Survival Express arrived at Union Station where we were greeted by Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci who was front and centre as we marched to Queens Park where he led the crowd of northerners in the rallying cry that â€śONTC was Not For Saleâ€ť while standing under Premier Harrisâ€™ office windowâ€ť added Marleau.
â€śThe evidence is now overwhelming that Premier McGuinty and Minister Bartolucci do not want to hear from citizens, communities nor business who live, work and play in Northern Ontario. This step to quash one day to celebrate the Northlander passenger train confirms that they are fully aware that what they are doing is wrong and will try take every measure, no matter how heavy handed it is, to shut down the Northâ€ť concluded Marleau.