Candidate votes to save ONTC [Gerard Kennedy] – by Sebastien Perth (Sudbury Star – November 23, 2012)

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

The decision to sell off Ontario Northland should be reviewed, but Northern Ontario does not need another level of government to promote economic growth.

Those are just a few of topics Ontario Liberal party leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy covered during a campaign stop at past Sudbury poet laureate Roger Nash’s house Thursday. About Ontario Northland, Kennedy said it wasn’t helping either passengers or industry.

“I’m going to review that decision (to shut down Ontario Northland). I’m not sure that is key part of a Northern strategy. I know a lot of people are upset, but Ontario Northland ran at a level that was almost not helping the passenger and not helping industry,” he said.

“The Ontario Northland … has to be one that is fully viable. The question is how do you do it that way. Is it part of the Ring of Fire outlook? We’ll have to look at that.” Born in The Pas, Man. , Kennedy said he knows full well the discrepancy in services offered to northern areas.

“I am interested in seeing what we can do in the North and I know some of my colleagues have mentioned things. I’m from northern Manitoba, so you guys are all southerners to me.

“I really do think there’s a good case to be made that a percentage of the GDP generated in the North should stay in the North to help infrastructure and so on,” Kennedy said, adding: “I’m very keen on having a Northern strategy. I’m acutely aware of what it feels like it in the North and not have it appreciated that you have things you go without in the North and yet there’s tremendous benefit generated for elsewhere.

“Let’s look at what part of (GDP) that could be set aside to do that and let’s make sure there are aggressive amounts on new development. We need the plans and they need to be locally vetted. I still like the idea of a growing North.”

During at visit to Sudbury last week, fellow Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Glen Murray said he would look at shifting some responsibilities to a board that would represent Northern Ontario. Kennedy didn’t see the use in that.

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