THUNDER BAY – Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath shared her vision for change for the better for Northern Ontario families Friday with a northern platform – which includes better access to health care services, more good jobs especially for young people, safer roads, lower hydro bills and keeping northern schools open.
“Northern Ontario is a beautiful place to live and raise a family,” said Horwath. “I believe it was wrong for the Conservatives to make deep, deep cuts in the north, and it was wrong for the Liberals to keep cutting. For folks here coping with sky-high hydro bills, and having a harder time accessing services like health care close to home and community schools – Ontario owes them better.”
Doug Ford has vowed more than $6 billion in cuts across the board, and promised to privatize as much as possible – putting northern health care at risk. Ford’s plan to plow ahead with school closures puts hundreds of schools on the chopping block. And, Ford’s promise to keep every part of Kathleen Wynne’s hydro scheme will mean northern bills will not only stay high, but they’ll get higher after the election.
“I am offering something completely different,” said Horwath. “In this election, we don’t have to settle. Ford wants Ontario to go from Kathleen Wynne’s cuts and privatization to his deeper cuts and even more privatization. I say, let’s choose hope instead. Let’s respect the north, and invest in northern people. Let’s give northern youth the opportunities they deserve, and northern families the care they need.”
Horwath highlighted six changes for the better for Northern Ontario:
Protect and invest in Northern health care, so people can get the care they need close to home – including $19 billion in new health care facilities, repairs and upgrades
Make travel safer by improving winter road maintenance, and making it public again — and bringing back the Northlander passenger service
Create good jobs across the resource development sector – the kind of jobs young people can raise a family on. That includes lighting the Ring of Fire with a $1 billion investment
Make life more affordable by ending price gouging at the pumps, and lowering hydro costs by about 30 per cent – including ending higher rural and northern delivery costs
Keep Northern and rural schools open – giving Northern youth more opportunity, not less
Establish a true government-to-government relationship with First Nations based on the principles of Reconciliation
The NDP’s fully costed platform for Northern Ontario can be found at ontariondp.ca/northernplatform