Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli ‘excited’ Northern passenger rail has been proposed – by Gord Young (North Bay Nugget – October 13, 2017)

he 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.

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