Tuesday, 30 January, 2001

    Ministers ONTC stance draws the ire of Saudino

    Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines Tim Hudaks negative response to city councils letter asking for time to find alternatives for the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission drew a loud and angry speech from Coun. Denis Saudino.

    City Clerk Jack Watson read the letter to council at its public meeting Monday.

    It was a simple repetition of already-announced plans for ONTC which include sale of its money-maker ON Telecommunications.

    I believe you agree that the status quo of the agency is not in the best interest of the north, stated Hudak.

    Saudino said, The train is on the track and they have one direction. Theyre just plowing our objections out of the way.

    He noted that although the government said the ONTC board of directors were all in favour of the proposal, some now are having second thoughts.

    But, Saudino said, the government, is ignoring everything.

    Its a fait accompli. Its going through, he said.

    They want to piecemeal it, said councillor Dennis Welin. The government wants to take the profit and leave the taxpayers saddled with the difficult areas to manage.

    He again asserted the ONTC never bought the land it uses. That remains the property of the people of the North and the provincial government has no right to take it.

    Fireworks included a brief confrontation between Mayor Jamie Lim and Coun. Bill Gvozdanovic. The mayor said she would address the issue in a meeting with Hudak this Thursday.

    When Gvozdanovic suggested Saudino attend the meeting because he feels so strongly, the mayor responded saying, she can handle it.

    There was no resolution on the matter.

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