White Knuckle Driving
There is a term used in Northern Ontario called white-knuckle driving. This is a simple description of what northern drivers experience when they are forced to drive on one of our highways after a snowfall. Our knuckles turn white from gripping the steering wheel so tight because of the life-threatening driving conditions in the North.
Since the first snowfall this season, the newspapers have been publishing story after story of people perishing on our highways; and this is not occurring on a monthly basis, not even on a weekly basis but on almost a daily basis with little or no concern shown from our provincial government. Our provincial government continues to try to save every nickel they can by tendering out Northern winter road maintenance to the cheapest bidder. However, when the death toll begins to rise too high, the government then tries to fix the problem by placing fines on these contractors for neglecting the highways.
Of course, this government response only comes after grieving families raise concerns in the news media.
In comparison, the city of Toronto boasts 600 snow plows and 200 sanders ready to tackle a centimeter or two of a winter flurry. The GTA highways have armies of preemptive road crews spraying their highways down with thousands of gallons of liquid de-icers hours before a suspected squall. While in the North, some of our busier highways are lucky to see a single snow plow hours after a snowfall.
Trevor Holliday, the Leader of the Northern Ontario Party states why should our citizens in Northern Ontario play Russian roulette every time they drive to work in the winter. Where is the weather maintenance that our citizens deserve? Why do our citizens continue to die without an uproar being caused by our elected officials?
The Northern Ontario Party demands the immediate end to contracting out our winter highway maintenance and place the responsibility back under the Ministry of Transportation. Under the current system, all the government is doing is trading the safety of Northerners to the cheapest bidder. We all know when you’re running a business you try to save money every way you can, this is why it is so important that winter road maintenance is done by public workers under a public service.
Trevor Hollidays states; Northerners, a lot of the time don’t have the luxury of choosing not to travel, many of us, are forced to drive to get to work or medical appointments , we don’t have the public transportation options like they do in the south and the government knows this. Why then, should our highways be considered death traps, it is time to bring back ministry operated snow removal and stop this winter tragedy.
Ms. Wynne if your serious about creating fairness across the province then we implore you to solve the imbalance with winter road safety in Northern Ontario. The Northern Ontario Party is tired of having to read about another friend, family member or co-worker dying due to poor winter road conditions.