The Timmins Times reported on Mar.27, 2012:
"Mayor Tom Laughren and several Timmins city councilors expressed dismay and disappointment Monday night with Premier Dalton McGuinty and senior ministers at Queen’s Park in light of the announcement last Friday that the Ontario Government plans to sell off the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC).Their anger comes in view of the fact that the mayor and several councilors were in Toronto just a few weeks ago to meet with the premier and several cabinet ministers at the annual meeting of the Ontario Good Roads Association.
That is one of the few times in the year when municipal councilors get face time with the Premier and the cabinet to discuss vital issues for the North.
“There was no hint at anytime in our meeting with Minister Bartolucci, or formerly Minister Gravelle, that anything like this was being considered,” Laughren told council Monday night.
Laughren said if anything the Timmins delegation was pushing to enhance Ontario Northland operations in the hope that the provincially owned railroad would become part of the transportation solution for the Ring of Fire mining project.
“We felt this was a real opportunity for Ontario Northland,” Laughren recalled.
Laughren said Northern leaders had no inkling that the Ontario Northland bombshell was coming.
“There was no consultation on this decision,” Laughren said.
He added that Timmins and other Northern communities had met several times in recent years with Queen’s Park representatives to hash out details for the Northern Ontario Growth Plan.
“And we asked the questions previously why ONTC was not sitting at that table and we always were assured they would be. Obviously now we know maybe why they haven’t been,” Laughren said.
Laughren’s disappointment was shared by councilor Mike Doody, a one-time staunch supporter of the provincial Liberals.
‘WE’VE BEEN ABANDONED’“The announcement to divest the assets of Ontario Northland really has left the citizens of Northern Ontario with the feeling that we have been abandoned by this government,” said Doody.
He added that the McGuinty Liberals continue to put impediments in the way of mining and forestry development in the North.
Doody said the Ontario government’s decision is a stark contrast to Quebec where the provincial government has announced it will spend billions of dollars in the coming years to promote mining and build new rail lines.
Shaking his head in disgust at the Queen’s Park announcement, Doody proclaimed “the only thing that surprises me is that they didn’t make the announcement in the middle of the night.”
Doody said the Queen’s Park liberals have done nothing to endear themselves to Northerners.
“You know these policies that this government has put in place over the past few years has made our population strictly a protest population!” Doody declared.
Doody mentioned that it is well known by now that Premier Dalton McGuinty has not had an official visit to Timmins since he became prisoner is 2003.
“After something like this,” Doody muttered,”Well I don’t know if we’d want him.”
Councilor Andrew Marks expressed his disappointment also, saying the decision by Queen’s Park was “an absolute travesty.”
“THE PREMIER LIED’
“I am angry because the Premier has lied,” said Marks, who recalled a meeting with last month in Toronto where MGuinty was speaking.
Marks said McGuinty said “he was was always going to be at the table and we were always going to be able to talk.”
“He has lied,” Marks repeated.
Marks said instead of talking or consulting, the premier is acting unilaterally to ruin important parts of Northern Ontario infrastructure."
Notice the interesting typo (above, in green) "since he [McGuinty] became PRISONER in 2003"! Did they mean 'premier', or actually mean prisoner?!!!! The Timmins Times typo was changed later in the day to 'premier'!