Written By: Bob McIntyre

While the grassroots movement to get Northlander passenger rail service restored to the Highway 11 corridor ran out of money and therefore steam, the political fight at Queen’s Park isn’t over yet.

In Question Period Wednesday, Mushkegowuk-James Bay New Democratic MPP Guy Bourgouin told transportation minister Jeff Yurek that the north has to been on par with the south in terms of inter-city transportation, and the Northlander train is the way to do it.

“The train is a reliable, safe, accessible and environmentally conscious way to travel that could help bring prosperity to Northeastern Ontario,” said Bourgouin.  “Minister, when will the government do right by Northern Ontario and restore the Northlander?”

The minister replied that it was the Liberals, supported by the NDP who shut down the service in 2012, and that the government is investigating transportation opportunities for Northerners.

In his supplementary question, Bourgouin tried to turn it around, blaming previous Conservative and Liberal governments for shutting down Northlander train service.

Nipissing MPP and finance minister Vic Fedeli was having none of that.

“When in power, the Ontario NDP reduced bus service from Timmins to Chapleau and Wawa,” he said angrily. “They docked the new ferry in Tobermory.  they cut NorOntair service from 21 to six communities, and they sold off Star Transfer, the trucking firm of ONTC. That’s a heck of a legacy you’ve left.”