It was a packed house full of energy for 8 a.m. at the Grande Event Centre.
More than 200 supporters took part in the breakfast hosted by Ontario PC leader Doug Ford who made a campaign stop in North Bay this morning alongside with Nipissing MPP and current leader of the opposition, Vic Fedeli.
“He’s my right-hand man, my left-hand man,” Ford said in his speech about Fedeli.
Ford spoke to the crowd for close to 15 minutes and then spent about another 30 minutes meeting, greeting, and posing for a photo with Vic and supporters.
After the photo op, Ford spoke with the media for about five minutes talking about his plan for the north, cutting hydro rates, and bringing back the Northlander train.
“It is absolutely critical, to make sure that everywhere up in the North they say,’ don’t forget about us,’ and this is going to send a clear message to the people of the north we aren’t going to forget about you,” stated the Toronto area politician.
While he says reducing taxes is the highest priority overall, he feels the Ring of Fire is a key priority for the North.
“If we have to hop on the bulldozer ourselves we are going to get it done, but we are going to make sure we connect with every single community, First Nation’s community, other communities it effects, and we are going to make sure they have the buy-in, they are 100 percent behind the Ring of Fire, but it is absolutely critical we get this done,” Ford told reporters.
Fedeli and Ford spoke about the Northlander which Fedeli says would be tricky to bring back since the passenger rail cars and the ONR terminal has been shut down at Union Station.
“You will see in our costing there is $30 million for the purchase of cars and $15 million a year in an annual subsidy,” said Fedeli jumping in on the Northlander question to Ford.
“It is important that we have rail transportation back into the North. Just because the Liberals pulled it and the NDP supported them in that budget doesn’t mean it's the right thing to do. It is important for the people to have rail transportation,” continued Fedeli.
During this campaign stops, Ford says he has heard how important the Northlander is for the North.
“They feel stranded and that is what I am hearing, that they either have to take a bus or have to take a car down to wherever they are going. Sometimes to the city of Toronto for medical conditions and we find there has to be a reasonable way,” he said.
A small group of protesters stood across the street from the Grande Event Centre holding up signs including one that read,”Respect the North, we are not just votes.”