Fedeli calls for investigation into real savings from ONTC sell offWednesday, September 05, 2012 by: Kate AdamsNipissing MPP Vic Fedeli
QUEEN’S PARK -- Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli has written to Ontario’s Auditor General asking for a comprehensive investigation of the Liberal government’s predicted savings from its planned divestiture of Ontario Northland.
The letter comes after recent revelations that some Ontario Northland employees may be due to receive 14-year severance packages upon termination.
“My estimates would put that cost at about $450 million over the specified time frame. That far exceeds any savings the government has claimed it will realize,” said Fedeli.
“We need the Auditor General to do a thorough examination and tell us if indeed this is simply a politically-motivated fire sale, as I’ve contended all along.”
Through months of investigation, Fedeli uncovered several hidden costs the government doesn’t appear to have considered, including an unfunded pension liability of up to $200 million, ongoing pension and benefit costs for ONTC retirees, environmental liabilities, and ongoing subsidies for the Polar Bear Express and smaller feeder bus routes.
“This latest revelation, however, requires a full-scale probe by the auditor to ensure Ontario taxpayers’ best interests are being protected,” Fedeli said.
Fedeli also asked the Auditor General to investigate the per-passenger subsidy and annual operating subsidy figures the McGuinty government has been using to justify its fire sale of the ONTC.
“I know the Auditor will find the annual operating amount for ONTC to be far less than the $103 million the government claims,” said Fedeli. “There simply are no savings.”
The Ontario PC party would modernize Ontario Northland by appointing a board with transportation expertise and move responsibility for the ONTC from the Ministry of Northern Development to the Ministry of Transportation.