Bartolucci dismisses call for resignation [over Ontario Northland] – by PJ Wilson (QMI Agency/Sudbury Star – August 18, 2012)

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

The president of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce is calling for the resignation of the minister of Northern Development and Mines — something Rick Bartolucci says he isn’t even considering.
In a release issued Friday, John Strang said Bartolucci “has failed all Northerners” and should resign because of his belief “that the North does not matter.”  The provincial government, he said, should be “ashamed of turning their backs on Northern voters” over its decision to divest the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.
Strang’s news release follows the announcement Thursday that Northlander passenger train service will end Sept. 28, and a request for qualifications would soon be issued for Ontera, the communications arm of the Crown corporation.
“It seems that the government may have been feeling the pressure and as such announced (Thursday) the demise of the Northlander and the request for qualifications for Ontera, yet the Ministry of Infrastructure can’t even provide the details of what the RFQ will look like,” Strang said.
The provincial government announced March 23 it was dumping the corporation 10 years after Premier Dalton McGuinty — then the leader of the official opposition — promised the Liberals would not sell it.
The Ontario Northland provides passenger and freight train service, passenger bus service and communications services across Northeastern Ontario.
“The very minister that should stand up for the North has proven he doesn’t even understand the effect this will have on jobs in the North, development in the North and all the spin-off businesses and families (which) will be hurt by this announcement,” Strang said.
Strang also said when Bartolucci was asked how many jobs derailing the Northlander would affect, Bartolucci said “because of bumping rights and discussions between ONTC and the unions, it’s too early to speculate.”
Strang, however, said the unions say 63 positions could be affected by the Northlander cancellation.
“It would be prudent that the minister has all his information at hand and correct when announcing these decisions,” Strang said. “No wonder there is a feeling of angst and not knowing what the future holds for these employees and their families.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: