PARRY SOUND – Hospitals, highway maintenance and the Northlander train were high on NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s agenda Friday morning.
She said it was time to add, not subtract from Northern Ontario.
That means not accepting more government cuts, and time for investing in Northern people and their communities with better health care, more jobs for all and greater opportunities for young Ontarians.
Horwath was at the Northern Leaders Debate hosted by the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) in partnership with the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) on Friday morning.
“Imagine a place where hydro is public, hydro bills are affordable, your prescriptions and dentist bills are covered, and where good jobs are there for the next generation. Imagine having more of the things you need – from medical care to schools – closer to home. Imagine more young people staying in their own communities to live and raise their own families.
“Northerners know we can make that happen, and so do I,” she said in a release later.
Vowing to do the opposite, Horwath says PC Leader “Doug Ford has promised to cut at least $6 billion from things Ontarians count on, like health care, and to privatize public services. His plan means less help and higher costs for everyone.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne “has left Northern families with overcrowded hospitals, dangerous roads, and fewer opportunities year after year,” added Horwath.
“But Mr. Ford’s plan is to cut deeper and sell off more.”
The NDP leader said: “Kathleen Wynne contracted out winter road maintenance, Doug Ford would privatize more highways. Wynne shut down the Northlander and sold off Hydro One, and Doug Ford promised to ‘leave no stone unturned’ when it comes to privatizing and selling off even more. He even supports Wynne’s hydro plan, which will drive hydro bills up another 70 per cent.
“Instead of going from bad to worse,” said Horwath, “let’s try something completely different this time. Let’s invest in Northern people and communities, for a change.”
Horwath was in Northern Ontario last week, where she released her Northern Platform. The document is in addition to the NDP’s complete, fully costed election platform, and its commitments include:
- Protecting and investing 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
- Making travel safer by improving winter road maintenance, and making it public again – and bringing back the Northlander passenger service
- Creating good jobs across the resource development sector – jobs young people can raise a family on. That includes lighting the Ring of Fire with a $1 billion investment
- Making 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
- Keeping Northern and rural schools open – giving Northern youth more opportunity, not less
- Establishing a true government-to-government relationship with First Nations based on the principles of Reconciliation