‘Pause’ ONTC divestment: Murray – by Dave Dale (North Bay Nugget – November 19, 2012)

http://www.nugget.ca/

NORTH BAY – Big city Liberal politician Glen Murray said Northern Ontario is the key to the province’s future and should be run by a regional authority.

And Murray, who is seeking to replace out-going Premier Dalton McGuinty as the Grit party leader, said they should “pause” the divestment of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission until regional priorities are set.

“I’d put the pause button on ONTC decisions,” he said while in North Bay, Sunday. “We should not be making these one off decisions.”

Murray is stumping for Liberal Party membership support and visited Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury pitching his campaign platform. Tax cuts for the middle class and small business, no-money-down university or college and Northern Ontario autonomy.

“The north needs it’s own voice,” he said, noting it’s a resource-rich region with residents, business owners and community leaders with a stake in its success.

Murray said the shape of the authority could be decided by referendum — whether a general northern government or separate regional government n the northeast and northwest.

Government authority can be devolved from the provincial level, along with a share in taxes and the power to tax things such as resource extraction, with Murray also saying the federal government should be involved as well.

“Having its own government and voice would give northerners a tax base from resource revenues, and more control of regional economic development and infrastructure funding,” said Murray, a former mayor of Winnipeg and now Toronto Central MPP.

He said as much as 60% of taxes go to the federal government and Ontario doesn’t get enough coming back. The federal government should be part of revitalized vision for a northern rail system.

Murray said he’s open to the concept of a port authority overseeing transportation and communication infrastructure in the region, a proposal under construction by the unions representing ONTC workers.

“There’s a chance to solve this . . . and I trust northerners to make these decisions,” he said, adding they are the ones who must deal with the consequences.

For the rest of this article, please go to the North Bay Nuggest website: http://www.nugget.ca/2012/11/19/pause-ontc-divestment-murray

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