The Northern Ontario Party is calling for the government to end contracting out of plowing northern highways and return the responsibility back to the MTO.
There have been plenty of accidents on area highways this winter.
"Our provincial government continues to try to save every nickel they can by tendering out Northern winter road maintenance to the cheapest bidder," says NOP leader Trevor Holliday. "However, when the death toll begins to rise too high, the government then tries to fix the problem by placing fines on these contractors for neglecting the highways. Of course, this government response only comes after grieving families raise concerns in the news media.
"In comparison,the city of Toronto boasts 600 snow plows and 200 sanders ready to tackle a centimeter or two of a winter flurry. The GTA highways have armies of preemptive road crews spraying their highways down with thousands of gallons of liquid de-icers hours before a suspected squall. While in the North, some of our busier highways are lucky to see a single snow plow hours after a snowfall."
Holliday calls highways in the north, "Russian roulette every time they drive to work in the winter."
"The Northern Ontario Party demands the immediate end to contracting out our winter highway maintenance and place the responsibility back under the Ministry of Transportation. Under the current system, all the government is doing is trading the safety of Northerners to the cheapest bidder.
"Northerners, a lot of the time don’t have the luxury of choosing not to travel, many of us, are forced to drive to get to work or medical appointments , we don’t have the public transportation options like they do in the south and the government knows this. Why then, should our highways be considered death traps, it is time to bring back ministry operated snow removal and stop this winter tragedy."