Representatives from the General Chairperson’s Association (GCA) which represents all unionized employees at Ontario Northland (ONTC) were disappointed last night while outside the Liberal’s Waterloo campaign office hoping for an opportunity to speak with Premier McGuinty about his government’s fire sale of Ontario Northland.
“We’ve written to the Premier a number of times requesting to meet and he has not given us the time of day, which is very disturbing. We know from experience in the 2002 Nipissing by-election that Dalton McGuinty had lots of time for Northerners and the ONTC. We recall with great media fanfare, how Dalton McGuinty provided his written guarantee to the people of the region that a McGuinty
Government would never sell off the ONTC,” stated GCA spokesperson Brian Kelly.
Approximately 50 Northern Ontario supporters gathered outside the Liberal’s Waterloo campaign office, hoping to speak with the Premier, however Premier McGuinty had his security detail sneak him in and out the back door of the campaign office.
“We were in Waterloo hoping for an opportunity to speak to our Premier, hoping to ask why Southern Ontario gets the GO Train while Northern Ontario will be getting no train. We are not looking for special treatment, just equal treatment, after all it’s our Ontario too. While speaking to Waterloo residents, we were shocked to learn that in this by-election, McGuinty has promised to build an 19 km
long rail rapid transit line through their community at a cost of over $300M.” added Kelly.
Last month the provincial government announced that it was discontinuing the Northlander train service effective the end of September stating that the $12M annual costs is too high and that northerners can opt instead for a 14 hour bus ride from Cochrane to Toronto if they need to travel for medical or personal needs. The McGuinty Government will also be returning to the Federal Government, $2.5M annually they provide to support the Northlander operation from Northern Ontario into Toronto.
“We will persevere in our desire to meet with the Premier. In April we went to the Premier’s home riding of Ottawa and his staff stated they could not locate him that day. In June we called on him to meet with us when he was in Sudbury and he brushed us off there. We were at Queens Park last week (Aug 29) and the Premier made no time for us and following our introduction in the Legislature, Finance Minister Duncan was heard heckling, referring to the 40,000 riders of the Northlander as nobodies. Last night in Waterloo, the Premier snuck in and out the back door under heavy security. This government’s disdain
for Northerners is obvious, however we are part of Ontario and he has an obligation to meet and explain this fire sale to us and to northern communities.” concluded Kelly