The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.
MPP says grassroots uprising only way to save Ontario Northland
If Northerners want to prevent the sale of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, they need to make their voices heard at Queen’s Park. That was the key message conveyed by local politicians to a crowd of about 70 people who attended a public meeting held at Centennial Hall in Timmins Monday night.
Residents were urged to express their opposition to the sale of the ONTC by phoning or sending letters or emails to Premier Dalton McGuinty and Northern Development Minister Rick Bartolucci.
Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren said the only way they were going to be successful was through a “grassroots movement” in which the “people bring the fight to Queen’s Park.”
MPP Gilles Bisson (NDP — Timmins-James Bay) said if the McGuinty government “starts to sense there is a groundswell, that’s when they will start to respond… All I know is, if we don’t try, they’re just going to go ahead and do it.”
Bisson had to answer to several residents at the meeting who questioned why the New Democrats didn’t simply stop the Liberals from selling the ONTC by voting against the recent budget vote which would have effectively toppled the government.
Bisson told the audience by saying toppling the Liberals would have accomplished nothing because the Progressive Conservatives are equally intent on privatizing the ONTC.
Linda Larette, one of the residents who attended the meeting, admitted she doesn’t know who to believe anymore.
“I think right about now, I’m a little disillusioned with all government officials, because you talk with the NDP, they tell you one thing, that it’s the Conservatives’ fault. You talk to the Conservatives and they say no it was the NDP’s fault. And then the Liberals say they don’t really care.
“So I’m kind of disillusioned with everybody and I don’t know who to believe anymore.”
Brian Kelly, representing ONTC unionized employees in North Bay, said he is on side with the New Democrats.
“The NDP are the only ones who have come out and categorically said they oppose privatization,” he told The Daily Press.
When MPP Vic Fedeli (PC — Nipissing) and PC Northern Development Critic Norm Miller were in Timmins two weeks ago, they suggested the Tories stand in the middle of two extremes — the New Democrats who with the unions want to keep the ONTC running the way it has and the Liberals who are ploughing ahead without any set plan.
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