KIRKLAND LAKE – NDP Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP John Vanthof says the Liberal announcement that certain ONTC services will continue to operate for the next three years is a temporary measure that fails to address the long term future of the ONTC.
“This is a stop-gap solution by a Liberal government that is running on fumes,” said Vanthof. “The jobs and infrastructure preserved by this announcement will be hard to maintain unless the government creates a genuine long-term plan for the ONTC.”
Vanthof says the selloff of Ontera telecommunications proves the government is still continuing down the path of selling off the ONTC one piece at a time.
“Selling Ontera is a bad deal for Northerners, and a bad deal for the government,” said Vanthof. “When you sell off public infrastructure worth tens of millions of dollars for only $6 million to a private corporation, the math just doesn’t add up. When Bell Aliant took over NorthernTel, they shipped jobs out of the province; what’s to stop that from happening with the Ontera jobs?”
Funding for refurbishing the Polar Bear Express included in the announcement was previously announced in 2011, and new motor coach purchases reinstates previously cancelled plans.
“This isn’t a real plan,” said Vanthof. “This is a feel-good Liberal announcement that won’t provide long-term stability to northern transportation, or the thousands of people who depend on the ONTC for their livelihoods, either directly or indirectly. After so much turmoil, Northerners no longer trust the government to follow through on their promises.”
– NDP Press Release