The New Democrat for Timiskaming-Cochrane welcomes expanding bus services across Northern Ontario. However John Vanthof is also questioning the timing of the Liberal announcement. Vanthof says after years of cuts, the Liberals are pumping $5.2 million back into the ONTC to increase bus service in Northeastern Ontario.
Vanthof believes they’re doing this because of next June’s election and the Liberals want to look good to voters. But Vanthof is reminding voters of an earlier promise the Liberals made. The New Democrat says when the Liberals cancelled the Northlander passenger rail service under former Premier Dalton McGuinty, we were told bus services would be enhanced. He says what the north got instead were bus cuts. “Now that we’re closer to an election, it’s kind of cynical of them to say the north needs more bus services,” Vanthof said.
Vanthof says the announcement is good news for the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission which he says has been doing more with less for years. The party finance critic says the Liberals have had the ONTC in a chokehold for years but are now letting up the pressure with an election looming. Vanthof has talked to the ONTC and told Moose News it’s still in the planning stages on where to put the new routes. The Liberal announcement includes putting bus service in communities in Northwestern Ontario that currently have no service.