QUEEN’S PARK—Ontario’s New Democrats are asking drivers in Northern Ontario to help put together a record of all the provincial highways that are poorly maintained this winter.
The new NDP Northern Road Report will compile the reports from the people who use our roads day in and day out, and who suffer the consequences when things go wrong.
“We will definitely keep this issue at the forefront—the ministry has to do something to make sure the standards and care are brought to a higher level for sure,” stated Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha on Wednesday. He had brought the issue forward prior to Christmas because of concerns he had heard from constituents on the condition of roads.
“Our Transportation Critic, Gilles Bisson, has been spearheading this campaign, and we won’t give up until something is done by the ministry to ensure high standards are met on the roads, for the safety of everyone,” said Mr. Mantha.
“In December, we provided the Ministry of Transportation with real examples of closures and accidents caused by poorly cleared roads in ridings across the North,” said NDP transportation critic Gilles Bisson. “Not only has the ministry not responded to the concerned motorists in our ridings but there is no indication that a review is taking place.”
“We will not stop until there is action taken to address the issue of the reduction of highway clearing standards for contractors, and to do that we need to hear about all the problem roads from the people who see it first hand,” said Mr. Bisson. “We will keep up the pressure on the Liberal minority government to take the situation seriously.”
Mr. Bisson pointed out Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli put out an open letter last week blaming the Conservative governments of the 1990s for the problems being faced today. “This isn’t the time for petty party politics and playing the blame game,” said Mr. Bisson. “The McGuinty Liberals have been in power since 2003 and they must take responsibility for the current state of the roads. Every day we see that the roads that the Minister deems safe are actually not safe at all.”
The NDP Northern Road Report was spearheaded by John Vanthof, MPP for Timiskaming Cochrane. Mr. Bisson and Mr. Vanthof are working closely with their Northern colleagues on the issue, including France Gelinas, MPP Nickel Belt, and Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin.
Drivers can submit reports about roads in poor driving condition to firstname.lastname@example.org.