Hudak would ‘suspend’ $122M GO Transit deal going to Quebec – by Tanya Talaga (Toronto Star – August 18, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Tory Leader Tim Hudak would “suspend” a $122 million contract with a Quebec firm to refurbish GO Transit coaches if he becomes premier this October.

This is the latest big ticket contract Hudak is looking at nixing. The Tories also intend to get rid of the $7 billion green energy Samsung agreement, which his party has dubbed the “king of all secret, sweetheart deals”.

North Bay’s Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, a Crown corporation, lost the bid to refurbish the GO trains which are owned by Metrolinx, another Crown firm. As a result nearly 109 jobs will be lost, said Nipissing Progressive Conservative candidate Vic Fedeli.

“We would immediately suspend it, then review it to see what our options are,” Fedeli told the Toronto Star on Wednesday.

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History of Building Roads and the Railway in Northern Ontario – by Gregory Reynolds (Highgrader – Spring 2008)

This column was originally published in the Spring, 2008 issue of Highgrader Magazine which is committed to serve the interests of northerners by bringing the issues, concerns and culture of the north to the world through the writings and art of award-winning journalists as well as talented freelance artists, writers and photographers.

Since mankind came down from its caves and established huts on the plains in order to grow food rather than to hunt it, the need for roads became apparent.

Just who would build them and who would pay for them became an early issue, perhaps the reason why politics was inflicted on the new civilizations. Fast forward to three momentous events, the decision by the Ontario Legislature in 1902 to build a railway north from North Bay to open up the vastness of Northern Ontario, the discovery of silver at Cobalt in 1903 and the discovery of gold in 1909 in what was to become the Town of Timmins.

The railway was to be the first step to staking a legal claim to the North by enticing farmers to homestead the region, thus blocking Quebec from making any claims on what was actually an empty land. The problem was that the legislators sitting in Toronto basically forgot to take the second step, constructing roads to link not just the various mining and farming communities that sprang up but North to South.

Development tended to occur close to the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway which reached Timmins on Jan.1, 1912 but it took another 20 years to reach Moosonee.

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What would change if employees owned ONR? – by John R. Hunt (North Bay Nugget – July 19, 2011)

The North Bay Nugget, established in 1907, is the daily newspaper for the northeastern Ontario community of North Bay.

What is wrong with the ONR? Ask this question anywhere in Northern Ontario and you will likely get at least a dozen answers. Ask it in Southern Ontario and you will discover no one has ever heard of the ONR and few give a hoot about Northern Ontario.

The current furor over the ONR repair shops losing a contract to a non-unionized Quebec outfit deserves much more fundamental thinking than it is getting.

The McGuinty mob is being pilloried because it did not intervene to protect the ONR. No one has pointed out how McGuinty and company would be excoriated if GO Train passengers discovered they had to pay extra so that North Bay jobs were protected. At the same time in this rough, tough and brutal world, no one asks the ONR why it is not more competitive?

The Nugget ripped the Band-Aid off a sore point when it revealed the ONTC is comprised of a gaggle of health care bureaucrats and educators. It also has a retired cop presumably charged with keeping them safe from outraged citizens.

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Support for ON [Ontario Northland jobs] ‘incredible’ – by PJ Wilson (North Bay Nugget – July 13, 2011)

The North Bay Nugget, established in 1907, is the daily newspaper for the northeastern Ontario community of North Bay.

Northern Ontario communities are banding together to protest the awarding of a rail car refurbishment contract to a Montreal firm over the Ontario Northland shops in North Bay.

Sudbury and West Nipissing mayors have offered their support for the North Bay-based Crown corporation’s bid to refurbish GO Transit cars in a five-year deal worth in excess of $120 million. Ontario Northland’s bid was about $2 million greater than the bid from a Quebec-based company.

“I want you to know that you have my full support in that the tendering process must be looked at as it is crucial that these jobs remain in our province,” Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk said in a letter to North Bay Mayor Al McDonald dated Tuesday.

“These contracts are critical to the growth and sustainability of our communities and it is imperative that this government (Metrolinx) rethink their decision. We must fight to keep jobs, not only in the North but in our province.”

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Hudak vows to review Metrolinx deal – by Antonella Artuso (North Bay Nugget – July 13, 2011)

The North Bay Nugget, established in 1907, is the daily newspaper for the northeastern Ontario community of North Bay.

TORONTO — PC Leader Tim Hudak is promising to review the controversial Metrolinx decision to hand a lucrative contract to refurbish GO Transit coaches to a Quebec-based company over a North Bay competitor.

“This July, a McGuinty government agency — Metrolinx — selected a Quebec-based company to refurbish GO Transit rail cars even though the (Ontario Northland Transportation Commission) has been doing high quality work for years,” says Changebook North, the party’s northern Ontario platform. “Yet Dalton McGuinty allowed this decision to stand, costing 100 good jobs.”

Hudak will release Changebook North Thursday in Thunder Bay.

While Changebook North calls on McGuinty to review the Metrolinx decision prior to the fall election, Hudak said he’s prepared to do so after Oct. 6 if his party forms the next government.

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Northern Ontario pushes McGuinty to reverse $122-million Metrolinx contract – by Tony Van Alphen (Toronto Star – July 9, 2011)

The Toronto Star, which has the largest broadsheet circulation in Canada,  has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Furious municipal politicians in Northern Ontario are pressing Premier Dalton McGuinty to reverse a $122.6-million GO Transit car refurbishing contract with a Quebec firm because they argue a Crown company in North Bay should have won it.

“It doesn’t make much sense,” North Bay Mayor Al McDonald said Friday about the recent decision by Metrolinx, another Crown-owned agency that owns GO.

He warns if the decision by Metrolinx, the GTA’s transit agency, proceeds, it will kill hundreds of jobs in his city and could have significant negative political implications for the governing Liberals in the fall provincial election in Northern Ontario. The Liberals currently hold six of nine northern seats while the NDP represents the other three.

“It flies in the face of their own policy for economic rejuvenation in the North,” said McDonald, who has been rallying other municipal leaders against the deal. “This would be a very difficult decision to defend.”

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[North Bay] City demands answers to 10 questions about $120-M contract loss – By Maria Calabrese (The North Bay Nugget – July 7, 2011)

The North Bay Nugget, established in 1907, is the daily newspaper for the northeastern Ontario community of North Bay.

‘No grounds’ to reopen contract, MPP says

Ontario Northland Railway employees took unpaid time off work to rally with the city as it pushes the province to review a process that led to a $120-million contract going to a company in Quebec.

“I think we’re a little fed up with Northern Ontario not getting our fair share of jobs, and jobs going out of province. We’re just trying to keep local jobs,” said refurbishment worker Trevor Murphy who was part of a crowd of about 200 people, mostly ONR workers, at city hall Thursday morning.

“I think it’s great that everybody is getting involved. This effects everybody in the North.” Canada Allied Diesel Railway Industries Ltd., in Lachine, Que., bid $2 million less than the ONR even though the tender stipulated the lowest bid might not be accepted, and won the contract to refurbish 127 GO Transit rail passenger cars with a one-year-option for 22 more.

Mayor Al McDonald told the crowd the decision could cost 109 local jobs representing more than $6 million in salaries, the province could lose up to $15 million in severance pay and the economic impact to the region could reach $50 million.

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Premier’s silence on GO contract stuns Northern leaders – by Ron Grech (The Timmins Daily Press – July 7, 2011)

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins.

For the past week, Northern leaders have been calling for a review of a $120-million GO Transit contract awarded to a Quebec firm when Ontario Northland’s bid was just 1.6% higher.

Aside from being declared a bad economic move, “what’s more troubling to us is the government’s position which is really one of silence,” said Alan Spacek, Kapuskasing mayor and president of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities. “The silence from the premier’s office is deafening.”

On June 24, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission announced that Quebec-based Canadian Allied Diesel had been awarded the next GO Transit refurbishment contract by the Metrolinx board of directors to rebuild 121 GO Transit cars.

Spacek along with Tom Laughren, Timmins’ mayor and FONOM vice-president, hosted a press conference in Timmins Thursday to publicly express their concerns and to discuss plans to further lobby the Ontario government.

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North Bay demands answers from province on rail contract – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July, 2011)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business

The City of North Bay wants answers from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty on why a GO Transit rail coach contract was awarded to Quebec interests instead of the Crown-owned Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC).

The decision by Metrolinx to award a five-year, 127-car refurbishment contract to Canadian Allied Diesel Railway Industries (CADRI) of Lachine, Que. has city council demanding the contract be suspended and reviewed by the province.

CADRI’s $120 million bid bested ONTC by $2 million, but North Bay Mayor Al McDonald said there are other factors at play. At a June 7 press conference, North Bay Mayor Al McDonald called the awarding of the contract a “flawed process” that will kill 109 jobs at the North Bay-headquartered Crown corporation, eliminate about $7 million in payroll and cost hundreds more indirect jobs in the region.

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