NORTH BAY, ON, May 8, 2015 /CNW/ - Unifor Local 103 President Andy Mitchell is dumbfounded by comments made yesterday by the acting President of Ontario Northland to a gathering of Northern Ontario Mayors.
"What Ontario Northland is bleeding from is industry knowledge, leadership and political will" said Unifor Local President Andy Mitchell. "To publicly state that Ontario Northland has not changed in 113 years demonstrates either a lack of familiarization with ONTC or a deliberate scheme to undermine its value and purpose, with the ultimate intent to rebrand the sell-off of the ONTC as transformational" added Mitchell
The building of the railway starting in 1902 brought along with it the telegraph then later, telephone, mobile service and eventually fiber internet in the early 1990's. Star Transfer began operation under the ONTC in 1960. In 1971 norOntair services began, connecting 23 communities in the north. In 1974 the Ontario government began operating ferry services in Lake Huron and James Bay.
"Clearly, Ontario Northland has a rich history of adapting too and serving the needs of northern Ontario businesses and communities, however recent political masters have labeled these as entitlements which are not deserving to northern Ontario. Regrettably that it what we heard again from the acting President yesterday." said Mitchell
"Since the mid 1990's successive Ontario governments have sold off assets and eliminated services to northern Ontario businesses and communities while at the same time providing significant subsidies to southern Ontario. The Wynne government is clearly continuing down that path of two Ontario's. One that is voter rich and will see billions of dollars in subsidies for GO Transit, including a new $800M Metrolinx East Rail maintenance center, and the other Ontario, north of Highway 17, that will see the eventual elimination all forms of publicly owned transportation infrastructure in the north" added Mitchell
"Northern Ontario communities and businesses are entitled to the same considerations and services as provided for in Southern Ontario and to suggest otherwise is irresponsible" added Mitchell
On April 16, 2015, Ontario Premier Wynne announced that the province of Ontario was increasing its southern Ontario GO train trips to Barrie to include all-day two way service and just three weeks later the Wynne government announces that northern Ontario residents can stand outside a convenience store to catch one of two daily buses.
"That is not entitlement by any measure, Northerner's want fair and equitable treatment" concluded Mitchell.
Unifor Local 103 represents approximately 400 ONTC employees working in clerical, on-board service, stores, shops and Cochrane Station Inn at various locations across Northern Ontario.
SOURCE Unifor Local 103
For further information: contact Andy Mitchell at 705.493.3817