Ontera selloff a ‘bad deal’

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP John Vanthof says Ontarians are picking up the tab for the government’s decision to sell Ontera telecommunications to a private company.

“Last week, the government announced that it was keeping Ontario Northland public, but at the same time, in the same announcement, said it was selling Ontera, the communications arm of the ONTC—the one part of the ONTC that actually isn’t costing the government any money,” explained Vanthof during question period this morning. “The sale to Bell Aliant is for $6 million, but the fiber optic ring alone that Ontario owns is worth $23 million. On top of that, it will cost the government an estimated $60 million to transfer Ontera to Bell Aliant, and 100 jobs will be lost.”

Vanthof is concerned that Bell Aliant will ship Ontera jobs out of the province, as they did when they took over NorthernTel. Vanthof says Northerners deserve a long-term plan for the ONTC that includes Ontera.

“Ontera is an integral part of the ONTC; it’s part of the package. This government is paying a private corporation to take over a publicly owned business. This deal will cost jobs in northern Ontario,” said Vanthof.

“Why does this government keep signing bad deals and letting Ontarians pay the tab?” asked Vanthof. “Is this government really committed to the ONTC, or is it just selling it off and dismantling it bit-by-bit?”

– NDP Press Release