QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPPs Michael Mantha (Algoma–Manitoulin) and Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay–Superior North) pressed the Doug Ford government on why he diverted millions of dollars from highway infrastructure in the North to fund multi-billion-dollar roads for his buddies, like the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413.
“Highway 17 is critical to life in Algoma-Manitoulin,” said Mantha on Tuesday in Question Period. “It connects residents to essential services, brings goods to market, drives tourism and connects Ontario to Western Canada. Why does this Premier think it is okay to shortchange the north time after time? It just adds insult to injury that Mr. Ford is shelving important northern infrastructure projects to build a couple multi-billion-dollar roads for his buddies.”
Last week, the Auditor General’s annual report revealed that $158 million intended for construction and maintenance projects on Highways 11 and 17 had been spent on other projects instead. The Ford government’s continual neglect in the north is having negative effects on northerners.
“Shortchanging the north has serious consequences,” said Vaugeois. “Highways 11 and 17 merge together just outside Nipigon and both highways were shut down for 36 hours last week, cutting off all traffic, including thousands of trucks, from being able to cross Canada.”
Both Mantha and Vaugeois are calling on the Ford government to stop neglecting the north and restore the funds he took away from northern highways.