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Feds created an 'unnecessary crisis' says Hughes

Monday, April 14, 2014   by: Kenneth Armstrong

During a press conference Monday morning, Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt praised the work MP Carol Hughes did to help convince the government to extend a subsidy to CN Rail, allowing the ACR to operate for an additional year.

Raitt said she was impressed that Hughes and Sault Ste. Marie MP Bryan Hayes approached her from two sides, across the aisle and from the back-bench, to come to a solution in the matter.

The feeling, it seems, is not mutual.

Hughes, who is the Member of Parliament for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing and a member of the New Democratic Party, was highly critical of the government’s role in creating what she called an “unnecessary crisis.”

In a release dated Monday, Hughes said

“The government knew that CN would not continue service without the subsidy,” said Hughes in a release dated Monday.

Hughes feels the government should have done their due diligence and consulted with stakeholders before cancelling the subsidy in the first place.

Resident Bill Gunn, who owns a cabin near Mekatina that would be affected by the potential stoppage of passenger traffic, agrees.

Gunn wants to see money put into improving roads in the area, funded by gas taxes and fees from licenses, but admits that roads are a provincial concern.

“We need to look at Northern Ontario in a different way,” says Gunn, who is concerned that federal and provincial governments see Northern Ontario only as a place to extract resources from, not to invest in.

He would like the province to create a new designation of road, which he calls a “recreation access road” which would not require being built to MTO standards.

“We don’t want them (the roads) upgraded to a highway, we’re not interested in paving them,” said Gunn.

Gunn managed to bend the ear of the transportation minister after the event, but does not hold much hope in the passenger rail extending past the spring of 2015.

“I think she was sympathetic, but I don’t know if her hands are tied,” said Gunn.

Hayes said during the event he has agreed with every decision Raitt has made so far as transportation minister, “As a back-bencher maybe I tow the line, but the line is a great decision so I have no issue towing that line.”

Hughes added she appreciates the subsidy being extended for an additional year and hopes the stakeholders are able to negotiate a long-term solution with CN.

(PHOTO: MP Carol Hughes sits and listens as Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt makes a funding announcement April 14, 2014 in Sault Ste. Marie. SooToday.com/Kenneth Armstrong.)

The full text of a release from Member of Parliament for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing Carol Hughes follows.

*************************
ELLIOT LAKE - With news that the government will provide funding to maintain passenger service on the Algoma Central Railway for another year, Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes is chastising the government for creating a crisis in the first place.

“The government knew that CN would not continue service without the subsidy,” said Hughes.  “Instead of performing due diligence and consulting with stakeholders, the government created a crisis that they also allowed to reach the 11th hour.”

Hughes predicts that given enough time, stakeholders will find a long term solution that will create a climate of stability for businesses, communities, and property owners that benefit from the service.

“We saw this work out for the Huron Central and I expect as much for the ACR too,” said Hughes. “There is a lot of support for passenger rail in the region and recognition of its importance for the economy as well.  I think with enough time to seek alternatives, the stakeholders will find a workable solution.”

Hughes maintains her criticism of the process that categorized all communities along the ACR as rural with public road access, citing the example of OBA.  That community will have to rely on a private industrial road entirely without passenger service.

“At the end of the day, the government was wrong to remove the subsidy, but they won’t admit as much and the time has come to look forward and focus on solutions,” said Hughes. “I am pleased that I was able to get the Minister’s ear and appreciate her securing one year of bridge funding which will prove helpful to stakeholders as they work toward a long term plan.”

*************************

Comments
23
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Opstday 4/14/2014 9:05:59 PM Report

Why does the NDP party always complain and never comes up with any meaningful dialogue to address changes that were bound to happen. There is not a bottomless pot of money that the government can dole out to try and solve this situation. Bob Rae tried to do that when he was in power in Ontario and look how that turned out. We are still trying to pay down his folly!
flyhawk25 4/14/2014 9:07:00 PM Report

I agree.
After a year of having 'the stakeholders' mobilize after the government arbitrarily cancelled the service now we're back to square one.
Why didn't they ask for input before they acted?Could it be they really don't care what northerners think?
flyhawk25 4/14/2014 9:08:41 PM Report

Just to clarify I agree with Ms Hughes, not the first poster.
And I am not voting for Hughes.
Opstday 4/14/2014 9:18:39 PM Report

Then I must ask, Flyhawk, who are you going to vote for - Justin????????????
steelworker 4/14/2014 9:20:12 PM Report

Shouldn't Hughes be sitting on her thumb?
flyhawk25 4/14/2014 9:21:44 PM Report

Who I vote for is none of your business.
Opstday 4/14/2014 9:55:47 PM Report

Fly hawk, you were the that brought the voting up by stating you would not vote for Hughes - there aren't too many parties left out there!
ti-guy 4/14/2014 10:00:27 PM Report

Yeah, those NDP can't spend money wisely like the Liberals right? Let's not forget the very honest and accountable Conservatives who lead this country.....
I'm In 4/14/2014 10:01:52 PM Report

Opstday get your facts straight, the Liberal and PC Ontario governments put Ontario further into debt since Bob Rae and did not pay down his so called folly as you say. Bob Rae who was a Liberal in Orange in 1995 inherited the debt from the Liberal spend thrifts like today and to get out of it. The reason Bob Rae was voted out of office is he gave public servants Rae Days at least he saved their jobs, public servant jobs have been disappearing since. I guess you were brainwashed when the other political parties at the time told voters that the government in 1995 was bankrupt, don't blame todays Ontario debt on Bob Rae even though he ruined the Ontario NDP Party.
Pakadeva 4/15/2014 1:31:11 AM Report

I'm simply happy that more attention is being paid to Northern Ontario, maybe there's hope of recognizing our existence after all? haha
flyhawk25 4/15/2014 2:27:11 AM Report

I do not live in Hughes' riding so I cannot vote for her.
Sweets312 4/15/2014 6:48:49 AM Report

Opstday, I think you're confused. The only person in this story that never comes up with meaningful dialogue is Hayes. All this government does is cut services to the ones that need it most. Services are contracted out or cut off all together. The only ones that profit with this government are the higher class...the ones that could afford to pay into services. Loss of local jobs is a loss for everyone. I'm thankful this service will continue for a little longer. I'm sure the NDP's will need to step in again to help the ones that REALLY need the service most...as this current government continues to take...take...take.
Twistinwrenches 4/15/2014 7:52:17 AM Report

Socialism does not work.Its been tried eg. China and Russia. If you want to live in poverty vote NDP.
Mr. Poster 4/15/2014 8:00:47 AM Report

NDP...they are long on complaining and short on solutions. It is easy to be so critical when you know your party will never have to produce.
OTHERight 4/15/2014 8:08:46 AM Report

I agree with Hughes as well. I actually suspected that this may have been a ploy from the beginning that would see Hayes swoop in and "save " the service, so to speak. Obviously, he is mot even in the loop, but we do see the Minister acknowledging the work of the NDP member. I don't think Hayes knows his to be embarrassed. Judging by his unremarkable, if not stupid and sheepish comment.

BTW, I have yet to hear of NDP members recently of historically making off with paper bags full of money. Sadly both the Cons - Brian Mulrooney (sp?) - and the Libs in Quebec are well documented practicing this form of illegal trade.
In this country's recent past.

Go ahead...blame and criticize the NDP - haha! Hypocrites.

doucher 4/15/2014 8:43:15 AM Report

If any of you trolls can read more than a paragraph, check this piece about capitalism from the Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/13/occupy-right-capitalism-failed-world-french-economist-thomas-piketty
Opstday 4/15/2014 10:48:27 AM Report

In the Saturday Toronto Star Thomas Walcom wrote a scathing article on how Jim Flaherty ruined this country with his policies as finance minister. This was written after Flaherty passed away and before his funeral. Totally insensitive!
Then Carol Hughes sits through Lisa Raitt's press conference and then releases a statement attacking the minister. Just another example of two NDP members who have no class!
Frio 4/15/2014 11:06:33 AM Report

"Hughes feels the government should have done their due diligence and consulted with stakeholders before cancelling the subsidy in the first place".
Is that is not what any reasonable person would expect of government when making a decision that has a huge negative impact on services to businesses and the public?
Opstday 4/15/2014 11:46:34 AM Report

Frio, I am a little confused. Carol Hughes in her statement said, and I quote "The government knew that CN would not continue service without the subsidy". How did she know that? Was she informed by the minister that the subsidy was being cut? Was she informed by CN that the service would be discontinued if the subsidy was cut? Or is she just fanning the flames? Tell Carol to step up to the plate and be honest with us!
Twistinwrenches 4/15/2014 12:33:59 PM Report

The NDP stole 3 million from the taxpayers that was intended for work at the house of commons. They used it for NDP party work outside of parliment and have refused to pay it back.
learningaswego 4/15/2014 1:34:02 PM Report

Yah, they should have "consulted with stakeholders" because ...? W

What, pray tell, do you think the stakeholders would say, other than, no we don't want it to end?

Only lefty no-brain tools would spend millions on "consulting with stakeholders", when you already know what their position is.
Frio 4/15/2014 1:40:35 PM Report

Opstday..Are you really that naive and confused? When has CN or any corporation receiving government subsidies volunteered to continue on providing a service without the handout they are used to receiving? Any reasonable person would understand that, but you think Hughes needed to be personally informed by government ministers and CN of what is common knowledge from past practice or she is just "fanning the flames".
ti-guy 4/16/2014 12:01:15 AM Report

methinks 'Ooopsday' is more than a little confused........
Comments
23
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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