NDP blasts Conservatives for suggesting northern winter road safety good enough

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Fedeli on social media: ‘public information’ is the priority — not snow plowing

QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP MPP for Sudbury, Jamie West, blasted the Ford government during question period Tuesday for suggesting that the current state of treacherous and poorly maintained winter roads in northern Ontario is good enough for Northerners.

Last week, the Ford government unanimously voted against a bill from NDP MPP Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk—James Bay), the Making Northern Ontario Highways Safer Act — legislation that would have improved winter maintenance on Highways 11 and 17.

Conservative Northern MPPs Vic Fedeli (Nipissing), Greg Rickford (Kenora-Rainy River) and Ross Romano (Sault Ste. Marie) didn’t even show up for the vote. But Fedeli later contended that the bill is unnecessary because northern highways are already cleared often enough, and praised previous cuts to the department.

“The Auditor General showed us that the Liberals saved $36 million by cutting the monitoring of the plowing,” Fedeli wrote on social media. “MTO has made enhanced public information a priority. Public messaging includes driving according to road and weather conditions.”

That’s awful for families in the North to hear, according to West.

“People are white-knuckled on unplowed, icy highways, and it’s even scarier when it’s your kids out there,” said West. “Families don’t want to hear about the dollars supposedly saved by making us less safe. And families sure as heck don’t want to hear that the priority is ‘enhanced public information.’ Northern families want and deserve enhanced snow plowing and road safety.”

Conservative MPP Aris Babikian (Scarborough—Agincourt) gave some insight into why the Ford Conservatives voted against the NDP bill, telling the legislature it could cost ‘taxpayers a great deal of money without substantial benefits.’

“It seems the Ford Conservatives don’t believe that the safety of northern Ontario drivers is worth the money,” said West.

16 COMMENTS

  1. I’m shocked that Fedeli has so little respect for his northern constituents and fellow citizens. Wait a minute – no I’m not. He’s on Team Ford who only go for the bucks they can stuff in their own pockets. I’ve lived in Parry Sound, North Bay, Thunder Bay and points in between. The ploughing of roads in the winter has always been of concern. There are too many people whose work involves driving those highways – sometimes regardless of the weather conditions. There are kids traveling via school buses. People often end up with medical emergencies that the weather isn’t going to wait for. People living in northern Ontario need to be as well looked after as those in southern Ontario. The CONs need a damn good reality check.

  2. I think you people need to read the story before you comment. It is not about driving it is about the poor maintenance of our roads. A main highway should not have big ruts in it from poor plowing(Not plowing enough.), it should not be slush covered two days after a storm. Yes slow down and drive safe , but maintain our roads so they are derivable. Sand and salt the roads more often. It is not the people that plow the roads who are at fault. It is the class to which money is paid out ( money , budget. ) that gets these plows and sanders out more often. .Apparently our main high way is not worth a class A budget , So it will not be plowed as often or salted as much ,to keep our( Your) safety in mind.A higher class would mean more money to higher more drivers and trucks to get the job done and not over work the people out there trying to keep us safe. ( This is my opinion ). Like it or not.

  3. Why is so difficult for Conservatives to agree to designate Hwy 17 and 11 in the same class as any 400 Highway for the purpose of repair or snow clearing? Why would they refuse this? It seems like a reasonable request.

  4. Once the road are safe to be on the plows and sander/salters are out I never heard any bitch about that , the weather maybe , but as the smart people in the north say drive according to the conditions , or if bad enough stay home or move to somewhere less wintery

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