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'Transportation Minister just doesn't understand northern roads'

Sunday, February 09, 2014   by: Staff



Glen Murray just doesn't understand northern roads: NDP Transportation Critic Gilles Bisson

TIMMINS - An apology by Transportation Minister Glen Murray about northern road clearing contracts shows that the Liberals still don't understand the challenges facing northerners.

The apology doesn't do anything to improve road safety or deliver better value.

“The Liberals and Glen Murray just don't understand that northerners need their highways cleared, not more vague promises,” said NDP Transportation Critic Gilles Bisson (pictured), MPP for Timmins-James Bay. “As usual, the Liberals are in damage control and they're promising to take action 'next year.' People deserve safe highways now.”

Murray appeared on CBC radio issuing a series of vague and contradictory statements, praising private contracts saying “in some cases we got much better service” while also saying that he was “apologiz[ing] to people particularly in the northwest.”

He failed to offer a solution for this year, saying only that the Liberals would “review” contracts and only in “some cases” might changes occur.

“In the past, the Ministry of Transportation operated patrol and dispatch services. The Liberals took away those government patrol measures,” said Bisson. “Under the Liberals, privatization has increased and the MTO has stepped back from those patrol and dispatch duties. What will it take to get the Liberals to realize that road safety is a life and death issue for many Ontarians?”

New Democrats raised the issue of privatized northern road plowing as recently as December 2013.


Additional reading on this topic

Company that plows Sault-area highways fined by MTO

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
OrlandoFlorida 2/9/2014 1:11:24 PM Report

Could you image the uproar in Southern Ontario if at the whim of a private contractor they were to close one of the highways, and I don't mean one of the 400 series highways. The good thing is, spring is only 2 months away how much more can it snow?
dust2 2/9/2014 1:13:02 PM Report

so many passive aggressive attacks coming from all sides. god forbid we work together and fix issues, so much he said/she said and bringing focus to the wrong issues.

how about screw the name calling and solve the issues. so the contractors weren't the best, alright, let's find new ones that will hopefully do the job properly.

their misunderstanding of our weather is the same as our misunderstanding of their subway system. people here complain about their tax dollars going towards toronto subways, well the same goes for the toronto residents having their tax dollars go towards our snow removal.

I support my taxes going towards the subway because it's 100% necessary and needed in Toronto. let's stop listening to the people complain about where are tax dollars are going and instead solve actual real problems.
Beej 2/9/2014 1:17:21 PM Report

The transportation minister needs to get off the pot and return things to the way they were, he also needs some "Just For Men"
RELAC 2/9/2014 1:28:26 PM Report

Someone should give a GPS to the Minister. Just another case of government creating policy for an area of ontario they know nothing about. To them it is just a place on a map that they have never been to because it's not on a Subway line.
OMGWTF 2/9/2014 1:58:12 PM Report

Better late then never for this release I guess. The Ministry has fined these guys thousands of dollars each and read the riot act to them all - do better or we will replace you. This politician would make more sense if he actually tried to do something about it a few weeks ago when we were all going nuts with the closures. Mind you who would want to drive on them when it's snowing so bad?
chichimawn 2/9/2014 2:48:57 PM Report

It's laughable that anyone can think it will be smooth sailing with the roads because Winter can't get much worse! The Spring thaw is going to be crazy, if it's not gradual...I know a back country road that is already getting water logged from one side to the other from swamp run off! I can't imagine how it will be when it gets above zero.

harry dick 2/9/2014 3:11:49 PM Report

To "dust2 : you have to be a politician
just by the way that you talk .forget about what happened and try to work together to get a solution.
This society today , is all for not laying blame , just fix the problem . forget about WHO screwed up . That is part of the problem today . If you do not find out what happened and who is responsible for it , you will never get the proper people in place to get the problem FIXED . If the responsible person for an area is not doing his or her job properly the first time , they must be replaced with the right person for the job. These people are "PLAYING " with "the people's money , not their own money . As a government , we have to pick people with experience in the area that they will be taking care of , not just put someone there because they helped you win the election . Lost in this society is "THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THE JOB " .O'H THEY WILL LEARN THE JOB.
Do the job right with the right person for the job , the FIRST TIME and they will not spend the taxpayer's money trying to fix their mistakes that should not have made in the first place.
dust2 2/9/2014 3:24:53 PM Report


You're criticizing me for wanting to find a solution? You realize that the solution is the most important issue right? Solving the problem actually gets things done, a witch hunt for the person responsible isn't real progress.

You can sit there for a week trying to figure out who to blame, in that same week I've been finding solutions to the problem. You're too busy trying to find a name to shame, a picture to post on a news article to hate, someone to yell and scream at. It's not my fault you want to focus on the wrong thing.

The contractor is the one not performing the duties, the contractor could of lied about metrics and numbers that the government needed. It's not the first time a contractor hasn't done their duties, this isn't a new thing.

Mistakes happen, it's the absolute wrong thing to do to find someone to blame for this. Why? Because it doesn't bring anyone any closer to finding a solution to the issue and getting the roads properly plowed.

Everyone who has a job isn't playing with their own money. Someone working a retail job isn't playing with their money, they're playing with their companies money. Don't try to bring a pity party just because it's tax dollars.

The mob mentality here seems to be that if someone makes a mistake, they should be fired. It's funny because every single person with that mentality screws up at least once in their job. Should they be fired for that mistake?

Like I said before, a solution is important. Someone to blame isn't.
Roy Boy 2/9/2014 3:42:27 PM Report

This is the same government who just over a week ago said that because we have reliable road access that they will no longer subsidise CN to provide passenger rail service to the many people of the north with diverse interests in accessing it. They are also the same ones who said that because the government no longer had any financial interests in maintaining any rural access roads, such as the Whitman Dam and 38 Road, to name a few, that they will no longer provide any maintainance. I guess they no longer require votes from anyone north of the French River. We have been segregated to second class citizens once again. I do believe that there is an Ontario 'A' and an Ontario 'B'.
honda1984 2/9/2014 4:04:42 PM Report

surprised our super MP from the soo didn't fill him in
I'm In 2/9/2014 4:26:34 PM Report

@dust2: Toronto has the employment/population to pay for their own subway, if I go there I will pay the fees to use the subway when I need it. I live in the north and I want my roads safe in the winter months, that's were we in the North want our tax dollars to go, so if I have an accident because of road conditions and driving by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act who's at fault: The GOVERNMENT and I will sue you can be sure of that, because if an accident is my fault I will get charged as well I should.

P.S this privatization was brought to you by the Harris PC's and the Liberals campaigned on reviewing this but they did more privatizing and created more debt in the province, so voter's in Northern ON its time for a big change
justsomeguy 2/9/2014 4:33:35 PM Report

@roy boy: Wasn't the CN issue federal and the above article a provincial issue? If so, how can this be the same government?
dust2 2/9/2014 4:42:00 PM Report

@I'm In

Then we would have no money if that was the case. Northern Ontario has less than a million people, Southern Ontario has roughly 12 million. We contribute peanuts compared to what they do, and we wouldn't have a tenth of what they have if it weren't for their taxes. If we all of a sudden adopt the selfish idea of "our tax dollars should only help us", then we won't get the help. There won't be enough money to keep going.

So sad to see people up here hate on even Torontonians, christ they're 700km away. God forbid we help others and get help ourselves...
GoHoundsGo 2/9/2014 4:46:17 PM Report

One of the many problems of todays capitalistic society is the desire of gov't to privatize everything. And before you say I must be a socialist/communist I'm not. I'm a centrist, who believes good ideas and solutions come from the left and right. Anyway back to what I was saying...We are told privatization is good, that corporations can do the job cheaper and more effectively, well there is a lot of data out there that proves in most cases this is false, case in point...snow removal off our highways. IN most cases the cost of privatization is only marginally less expensive to the tax payer, and in some more expensive...the difference only being the company doing the work pays less to their employees and pockets the difference. The gov't should be the ones to deliver many services to snow removal, health care, education, police, fire etc. Why? Because the gov't is accountable to us...the voter, the tax payer. The company that's doing work for what used to be done by the gov't answers to the gov't making them the middle man between us and the company. The gov't will often shelter and hide the company's inefficiencies and mistakes.
justsomeguy 2/9/2014 4:50:56 PM Report

@dust2: Sadly there are only a few people in the Soo who recognize the validity of your point.
riverman 2/9/2014 7:26:17 PM Report

Your opinions make too much sense to be posted here. :)
zzeke 2/9/2014 7:36:27 PM Report

dust 2 ......" It's funny because every single person with that mentality screws up at least once in their job.Should they be fired for that mistake?"
You`re comparing apples to oranges there dust2. if someone at Timmies drops a donut nobody`s life will be endangered.
harry dick 2/9/2014 8:05:01 PM Report

So dust2 you are telling me that the people that wasted 2 billion of the taxpayers money on two different projects ,should be still making decisions for us. We ,as a province cannot generate that much extra cash in a short period of time , without once again raising the taxes on every worker in the province . I know that if a similar mistake was made in a private company , the employees that made it would not be in charge of any major project again ,if they were not fired first, for such a giant loss of company money.
Private companies have to hire people that have the knowledge that is required for these major projects.
The government just sticks people in jobs that require expertise without any thought of the consequences because the government is not using their own money .They believe there is an unending supply of money available . They just have to raise taxes when the money runs out.
northernmale 2/9/2014 8:50:09 PM Report

The real sad thing is we want to believe that we elect a party to power and they work for us. The truth is once elected they could care less about you. The only one they take care of are the ones who give big bucks to the party to get them elected . And screw the little voter as they are of no use to them till next election.
dust2 2/10/2014 7:09:35 AM Report

>"The government just sticks people in jobs that require expertise without any thought of the consequences because the government is not using their own money "

too bad it actually is their money. we pay taxes. it's not our money when we pay our taxes, it's theirs. is it your money when you pay for food at mcdonalds? once you paid for your food, is it your money anymore? no, it's mcdonalds, much like the money we use to pay taxes isn't ours once we pay it, it's the governments.
frnlak 2/10/2014 11:11:58 AM Report

Called Transfield Goulais Yard and asked why the parking spots on the Ranger Lake Road were not plowed and explained my safety concern about vehicles having to park on the road while people travel into their cottages for the weekend. They said that they were told not to plow due to liability reasons and to contact the MTO. Sent Orozietti's office an E mail with no response of course. He's up to his ass in aligators over the MNR scandle. The OPP can't do anything and suggest that if you must park on the road to pull off as far as you can. you may be towed if you impede traffic thus leaving you and your family stranded in the bush. Nice. Finally got through to the MTO and stated my concern. He was very helpfull and will see what he can do. He stated that due to the snow pack and the impending thaw that the grader will be going up within the next week or two. If your parking spot is not plowed contact the MTO and complain. It looks like we are stuck with Transfield for a while yet as their contract is not due for a few years yet. Transfield sucks big time.
rotciv 2/10/2014 11:41:55 AM Report

I drive highway 17 from Bruce Mines to the Soo daily for work , the plowing from Bruce mines to St. Joe's is absolutely terrible , there are days that there is 1.5 inches of pure slush on the roads , don't enjoy meeting transports who do not slow down.Transfield has been an incompetent contractor and should be booted out of this country , there is no excuse for the poor work they do and the money pinching for profit from our taxes. The local government's lazy bureaucrats should get off there ass and do something for the people who voted them in. Go back to the old MTO at least you could tell the plows hit the road and they were not trying to save cutting edges for the following year.
harry dick 2/10/2014 1:10:38 PM Report

TO "DUST2: With a statement like that "it is not our money, it belongs to the government" I now know for sure that you are truly a politician . meaning you are good for only one thing: lying to the people and are full of bulls__t. The money is taken off our paycheques and their is nothing that we can do about it .But it is still the people,s money , entrusted to the government that the majority of people elected to " WORK " FOR THE PEOPLE. You should actually try "working" for a living. This means doing an actual days work , not just sitting around spending other people's money .
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