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Minister responds to Vic Fedeli’s ‘unhelpful rhetoric’ on ONTC conversation
To the Expositor:
Over the past five months I have worked with my Minister’s Advisory Committee and we have gained a better appreciation for the current operations of each ONTC (Ontario Northland Transportation Company) business line and the realities of the public sector working in a competitive marketplace. We have had a number of important discussions to date and our work is ongoing. I am convinced, as are members of the committee, that the status quo is no longer an option.
It is disappointing that Mr. Fedeli (Vic Fedeli, Progressive Conservative Nipissing MPP) continues to claim costs to taxpayers when in fact no decisions have been made on the future of this important asset. It is in the interests of his constituents, ONTC employees, and all Northerners that Mr. Fedeli move away from his unhelpful rhetoric and actually make a useful contribution to this conversation.
In order to provide an accurate representation, the ONTC business case reviewed all of the financial issues facing the ONTC. The numbers shared by Mr. Fedeli would see absolutely no job retention and shows no consideration for the socio-economic development needs of the region. Let me be clear, this is not an option being considered nor has it ever been a remotely accurate representation of our government’s approach to transforming the ONTC.
Our government continues to take a prudent and responsible approach to the future of the ONTC, exercising our duty to fully assess all associated liabilities. Earlier this year, I publicly stated that divestment may not be the only option and committed to examine various scenarios for telecommunications and transportation services including restructuring, alternative service delivery or finding a new owner for the ONTC business lines.
I want to emphasize that the province remains committed to ensuring that northern communities and industries benefit from viable, efficient and sustainable transportation and communications systems. Our government will continue to work hard to ensure that the best interests of the people of Northern Ontario are put first.Michael Gravelle Minister of Northern Development and Mines