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Fedeli lauds Economic Statement, Del Duca says it fails North Bay

'If we’re going to open a new office we should look to North Bay. The cost of housing is low, and the quality of life is high. We should decentralize the government when it makes sense'
20180707 north bay water tower sign turl
North Bay water tower. Jeff Turl/BayToday.
One is Improving transportation services by exploring the transfer of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to the Ministry of Transportation from the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, enabling centralized oversight to drive efficiencies. That's something the company's unions have long argued.
Another is exploring options to enhance the Ontario Northland Transportations Commission’s intercommunity bus services to help connect people in underserved Northern communities.
Other northern Ontario mentions include helping to lower the cost of living, by proposing to reduce the aviation fuel tax rate in the north to 2.7 cents per litre from 6.7 cents per litre.  This change would take effect on January 1, and would return the aviation fuel tax rate in the North to that which was in effect in 2014.

It includes more funding for small- and medium-sized hospitals, public health units, child care. In all, the government is increasing health funding by $1.9 billion and education funding by $1.2 billion.

“We believe the role of government is to enable the opportunity for a better quality of life and a higher standard of living for all of our citizens,” said Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. “By implementing our plan we are stimulating job creation, putting more money in people’s pockets, making our streets safer, our commutes shorter and our government smarter.”

Read the full Economic Statement.

But Steven Del Duca, Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidate, says the economic statement is bad news for the north and specifically fails North Bay.

“Ford is a bull in a china shop, his ministers are so distracted by his tweets, his outbursts and scattershot policy that they aren’t focused on the things that matter – and that’s meant North Bay has been ignored,” said Del Duca.

“We have tremendous potential in North Bay and what we need is action. That’s why I’m calling on the government to introduce a Northern Ontario Action Plan.”

The first part of Del Duca’s Northern Ontario Action Plan includes:

  • High-speed internet access for northern & rural Ontario
  • More investment for roads and bridges
  • Better access to medical doctors in the north
  • Building capacity for autism services in the north
  • A full review of provincial organizations to see if any of them can be expanded to northern communities

“Doug Ford has been busy settling old scores: meddling in Toronto city council elections, picking fights with unions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. What we actually need is a new relationship between Queen’s Park and northern Ontario.”

 “If we’re going to open a new office we should look to North Bay. The cost of housing is low, and the quality of life is high. We should decentralize the government when it makes sense.”

“What North Bay needs is a plan and a vision to make life better, to make it easier to start and expand businesses, and to make retiring in the north easier with more access to care. That’s what I’m focused on and those would be my priorities for the north as premier.

“North Bay has a critical role to play in Ontario’s future. We need to make it possible for young people to work, live and retire in North Bay and other northern communities. North Bay and northern Ontario are facing a shortage of skilled labour, doctors, and nurses. The government has to act,” finished Del Duca.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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