Friday, 2 February, 2001

    Province determined to derail ONTC

    The province appears determined to privatize the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission despite the urging of local mayors.

    Timmins Mayor Jamie Lim said her meeting with Northern Development Tim Hudak didn't provide her with any new hope of reversing the provinces decision to sell off ONTCs rail and telecommunication services.

    Hudak was in Timmins Thursday to meet with a coalition of local mayors who are pushing for a rural medical school in the North being established in the North.

    During the afternoon, Lim had the opportunity to meet with Hudak one-on-one to discuss a number of other issues including the future of the ONTC.

    I think their position has been quite clear, that they're moving forward in the governments plan to privatize ONTCs telecommunications, passenger and freight rail services, Lim said, following her meeting with Hudak.

    We've been steadily trying to reinforce our position and that was asking for time, asking if a new board or a consultant could be brought in to bring some new creativity or new innovative marketing concept to rail.

    Speaking doubtfully, she added, I'm not sure were going to get that moratorium.

    Passenger rail is the service thats most at peril from the governments privatization plan.

    Hudak has given the ONTC board until this summer to find a buyer for the money-losing Northlander passenger rail service. Failing that, Hudak has said the Northlander will be replaced by express bus service.

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