The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.
TIMMINS – The Liberals are being accused of fast-tracking a shutdown of the Northlander in hopes of derailing public efforts to save the service. After decades of serving Ontario’s northern communities, the Northlander train from Toronto to Cochrane will stop running after Sept. 28, the provincial government announced Thursday.
Regular train service will continue until that date, and communities served by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) train will still be served by the bus service.
“This is a real bullshit announcement — and you can use that word, I don’t care,” MPP Gilles Bisson (NDP — Timmins-James Bay) told The Daily Press “The minister (Rick Bartolucci) told me last spring, because going back we’ve been trying to stop this privatization and keep the train running.
In my conversation with Mr. Bartolucci I asked him point black when do you expect to shut down the train if everything happens, he said it won’t happen until spring 2013.
“I think the reason they advanced the closure of the train is they’re trying to take away any organization against the government. This is a political decision to try and shut down the organizing that people have been forming against the government.
There have been rallies in various communities, there’s been stuff on Facebook and there are people sending emails, sending faxes and making phone calls. I think the government is essentially trying to shut that down by taking the wind out of people’s sails by announcing an earlier closure of the train.
“This is not over. We’ll keep on fighting,” Bisson said.
That vow was echoed by Brian Kelly, president of CAW Local 103.
“We intend to fight this and on Sept. 28 the train will still be running.”
Kelly wants the New Democratic Party and Conservatives to help put the pressure on the Liberal government cuts.
“I’m calling on the leaders of these two parties to tell the Ontario premier this isn’t happening,” Kelly said. “The opposition has a hell of a lot of power and I’m optimistic we will win this.”
However, there appears to be an unwillingness from either party to form an alliance on this issue.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.timminspress.com/2012/08/16/liberals-fast-tracked-end-of-northlander-bisson