End of an era: NDP MPPs mourn the NorthlanderSaturday, September 29, 2012 by: Kate AdamsOntario NDP News Release
NORTHBAY - Today (Friday) marks the final run of the ONTC’s historic Northlander train, a vital transportation artery for much of northern Ontario.
Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP John Vanthof boarded the final northbound train from Toronto to Cochrane to protest the cancellation.
He was joined at Union Station by Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson.
“I’m still stunned at the short sightedness of this decision,” said Vanthof. “The Liberal government is shuttering the ONTC to save a few dollars, while they waste millions of dollars buying seats in the GTA. Once again, northerners are being left out in the cold. The fact that they won’t even maintain service through the Thanksgiving weekend just speaks to their total indifference to the North.”
Citing the cost of subsidising fares on ONTC routes, the government recently began the process of shutting down the ONTC and selling off associated assets.
Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha will meet up with the Northlander at its North Bay stop, to join Vanthof in protesting the cuts.
“This government is willing to jeopardise the future of the North by gutting our infrastructure. The harm this will do to the North in the years to come will outstrip any savings by a huge amount,” said Mantha.
Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus joined Vanthof on the train for the trip to Cochrane.
"The killing of the Northlander sends a message that there's two Ontario's - one that counts and one that doesn't. New Democrats disagree,” said Angus. “We believe in the people of the North. We believe in sustainable communities and we believe that public transit and the train is worth fighting for."
“With the amount of money McGuinty has squandered on the Mississauga and Oakville gas plant scandal, they could have run the ONTC as is for another 18 years,” explained Vanthof. “Wasting tens of millions of dollars on election promises while they shut down the Northlander is just rubbing salt on the wound.”