The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Premier Dalton McGuinty commended 200 protesters for staging a rally called Ontario Northland is Not For Sale on the campus of Laurentian University on Saturday where he was attending the Ontario Liberal Party Provincial Council.
McGuinty wouldn’t meet with protesters outside the Great Hall where he spoke to party faithful. But he did make a promise indoors to Liberals and to reporters that every town in Northern Ontario that now has ONTC bus service will continue to have it after the province sells off the Crown agency.
McGuinty credited people attending the rally for being respectful of the proceedings indoors, where he said his government can no longer afford to subsidize the rail and bus transportation service. McGuinty said the Liberals have spent more than three times as much on the agency as the last two governments did.
His government will work with communities to ensure “as smooth a transition as possible” of the operation from government to whoever purchases it.
“But we’re just not getting the value for our money we have a responsibility to get,” McGuinty told reporters after speaking to a lunch crowd at the conference.
“That’s our commitment. That’s our commitment. If you have a bus service right now that’s being delivered by ONTC, we will make sure that bus service continues to run,” said the premier.
McGuinty said it is the responsibility of Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci to “reach out” to the affected communities and make sure their voices are being heard.
“But we can’t shrink from our responsibility to make sure we’re getting good value for taxpayer dollars,” said McGuinty.
The province needs to cut costs to continue funding the priorities Ontarians have identified — and which Liberals have now adopted as their goals, said the premier.
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