POLITICS

NDP says unfair to subsidize GO Trains but sell off Ontario Northland Railway

04/26/2012 03:56 EDT | Updated 06/26/2012 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - The New Democrats say it's unfair for the Liberal government to subsidize public transit in southern Ontario while privatizing train service in the north.

NDP house leader Gilles Bisson says the government subsidizes GO Trains but insists it can no longer afford to subsidize the Ontario Northland Railway.

Bisson says people in the north are scratching their heads at the government's announcement of the train sale in last month's budget.

Northern Development Minister Rick Bartolucci says the provincial subsidy for GO Trains is about $2 per ride versus a $400-per-ride subsidy on the Ontario Northland railway.

He says that's unsustainable, so private companies are being asked to bid on some or all of its rail lines to see if they can provide a more efficient and cost-effective service.

Bartolucci says the government won't know if the privatization will be a good thing or a bad thing for individual communities until the proposals come in from the private sector.

Bisson says mayors, community leaders and other people in the north will keep fighting the sale of Ontario Northland, as will the New Democrats.