Bartolucci brands NDP as ‘hypocritical’- by Jacob Touchette (Sudbury Star – April 5, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

By not voting against the Liberal budget — which includes plans to get rid of Ontario Northland — the NDP has been “smoked out of their hole” on the issue and exposed as hypocrites, Sudbury’s Liberal MPP said Tuesday.

In a statement, Rick Bartolucci first thanked the NDP for not voting on the budget, which passed Tuesday by vote of 52-37. All Conservatives MPPs voted against the budget, while NDP MPPs simply didn’t vote at all.

It means the budget has passed first reading and that the minority Liberal government was not defeated, thus forcing a provincial election.

Bartolucci then tore into the NDP, which he said cut Ontario Northland Transportation Commission subsidies and services when it was in power almost 20 years ago.

“The NDP’s position on the (commission) has been beyond hypocri t ical , but today by way of the budget vote, they are smoked out of their hole — driven out of hiding, exposed to the public — however you cut it, we know (Ontario Northland) is not a deal breaker for the NDP,” Bartolucci said.

“Today, we see their rhetoric for what it is: empty political posturing designed to win support in northeastern Ontario.”

As minister of Northern Development and Mines, Bartolucci announced earlier this month plans to sell off Ontario Northland, which costs Ontario’s taxpayers $100 million a year in the form of subsidies. The move has angered Northern Ontario leaders, who say Ontario Northland provides critical bus and rail service to this part of the province.

The NDP had demanded the Liberals keep Ontario Northland, but dropped it in favour of other budget concessions.

Bartolucci, in an interview with The Star, said the Liberals have a “sense of victory” with how the budget turned out, he said.

In reaching a deal with NDP, “at the end of the day we are here to represent the people of Ontario … They elected politicians to work together.”

The changes made from the original draft of the budget have only strengthened it, he said.

“We should celebrate that.”

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