Mayor Al McDonald with Minister Michael Gravelle

Same bad taste

EDITORIAL – The tone and mood were gloomy at the end of Monday’s meeting between northern leaders and the Minister of Northern Development and Mines over the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission’s future.

Any hopes that a change in premier and minister would do something to bring common sense and careful consideration to the divestment process of one of the province’s most important assets, were quickly soured.

Full steam ahead remains the order for selling off one of the jewels of this more than century-old Crown corporation, Ontera, the telecommunications business.

Our northern mayors, like us, believed there was a chance to hit the brakes on this process that has been skidding towards ruin for the past year, since Rick Bartolucci announced the divestment on a Friday afternoon.

In the year since then the provincial government has appeared to be stone deaf to the concerns of northerners as they kept us in the dark during this ill thought purge.

And now, with the promise of new leadership, after months of platitudes we are finally invited to the table to at least be paid lip service.

But with Ontera off the table we can be certain the Liberal government still doesn’t comprehend the magnitude of what they are doing and are more interested in optics than changing course.

Under McGuinty and Bartolucci Northern Ontario was served a tray of divestment. Under Wynne and Gravelle we are being served a round of divestment-light.

Though admittedly not as strong, it leaves the same bad aftertaste.