Long-awaited PC poli­cies month away

Nipiss­ing MPP Vic Fedeli ‘ex­cited’ North­ern pas­sen­ger rail has been pro­posed

North Bay Nugget - - NORTH BAY NUGGET - GORD YOUNG

the re­turn of pas­sen­ger rail ser­vice to North­ern On­tario is among the many pol­icy pro­pos­als On­tario’s Pro­gres­sive con­ser­va­tives will be vot­ing on early next month.

“i’m very ex­cited about this pro­posal,” says Nipiss­ing MPP Vic Fedeli, not­ing the re­turn of a vi­able pas­sen­ger rail ser­vice is a “key piece” for the North.

he stresses, how­ever, that a “vi­able plan” is re­quired, not­ing the On­tario North­land rail­way’s for­mer North­lander pas­sen­ger train is gone.

“the North­lander was stripped by the Lib­eral govern­ment,” says Fedeli, sug­gest­ing the cars are no longer avail­able and that a new train ser­vice be built from the ground up us­ing North­ern rail ex­perts.

the pro­vin­cial tories have oft been crit­i­cized for ad­vo­cat­ing on is­sues re­lated to the On­tario North­land trans­porta­tion com­mis­sion (ONtc) be­cause of a pro­posal by the Mike har­ris govern­ment to can­cel the North­lander and a sub­se­quent pro­posal to pri­va­tize other di­vi­sions of the crown agency.

but Fedeli notes that the tories opted against can­celling the pas­sen­ger train. and, he says, it was the Lib­eral govern­ment that de­railed the North­lander in 2012 and later sold On­tera, the ONtc’s for­mer telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions di­vi­sion.

the rail pro­posal is one of 139 res­o­lu­tions party mem­bers vote on via on­line bal­lots between Nov. 2 and 6, with re­sults to be an­nounced at a Nov. 25 con­ven­tion.

Fedeli says the pol­icy pro­pos­als will “shine a North­ern lens” on all is­sues at Queen’s Park to de­ter­mine if any bill would be harm­ful to the North.

he says the pro­pos­als also high­light the ring of Fire and in­volve­ment of in­dige­nous peo­ples in re­source de­vel­op­ment as key pri­or­i­ties.

“enough is enough,” says Fedeli, not­ing it’s been more than a decade since the ring of Fire chromite de­posit was dis­cov­ered, yet not an inch of in­fra­struc­ture to mine it has been con­structed.

he says the pro­pos­als also lay out a com­pre­hen­sive plan to make en­ergy af­ford­able again in On­tario, to pro­vide pock­et­book re­lief to North­ern On­tario fam­i­lies, and in­crease broad­band in­ter­net ac­cess across the North.

“th­ese are key pri­or­i­ties an On­tario Pc govern­ment un­der Pa­trick brown will cham­pion in the North, and i’m very ex­cited about the com­mit­ment to ful­fill­ing the tremen­dous po­ten­tial we all know ex­ists in North­ern On­tario,” Fedeli says.

Vic Fedeli

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