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Election promise to restore Northlander during first term in office was 'hollow electioneering' says NDP

'Clearly, the Northlander was never a priority for Doug Ford, Vic Fedeli, and the Conservative government'

Ontario's NDP isn't impressed with the announcement today that the government is eyeing the mid-2020s as a potential return to service date for passenger rail between Toronto, North Bay, and Cochrane or Timmins. It has identified 2022 as a "target completion date," for the next stage of planning and design work.

See: Northern passenger rail return slowly coming into focus

"Doug Ford promised to bring back the Northlander in his first term as premier but confirmed Tuesday that’s not going to happen," said Jamie West, NDP critic for Northern Infrastructure, Transportation and Roads. 

West says the Conservative government’s announcement failed to fund the much-needed return of the Northlander.
“The Liberals scrapped the Northlander, making cuts that left northerners behind. But Doug Ford and Vic Fedeli have let us down, too — it turns out their election promise to restore the Northlander in their first term in office was hollow electioneering.
"More than three years later, and nearing the end of their term in government, the Ford government just gave us a plan to build a potential plan for years in the future. Sounds like more election promises with no train in sight. Clearly, the Northlander was never a priority for Doug Ford, Vic Fedeli, and the Conservative government."
West is calling for funding for the project, and a clear timeline for when the trains will start running.

"And if Doug Ford refuses to deliver that before the election in 2022, the NDP is committed to reviving the Northlander, and the essential transportation service it provided for northern communities. Northerners have waited long enough.”

Meanwhile, Green Party leader Mike Schreiner said in a release that the transit needs of the north have long been ignored.

"It’s about time the government started to address this important issue. But according to Ford’s plan, train service won’t begin until the middle of this decade at the earliest.

"Greyhound’s recent shutdown exposed the huge gaps in inter-regional transit in Ontario, leaving many Ontarians — particularly lower-income individuals, students, those in rural and remote areas and First Nations communities — out of options.

"Instead of re-announcing what was already announced in the March budget, I’m calling on Premier Ford to get to work, make inter-regional transit a priority and provide northern communities with the transit options they deserve.”

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