During question period Monday, NDP Northern Development critic, Michael Mantha, continued to advocate for the North in the face of Doug Ford’s first budget, which attacks northern Ontario, hitting families with deep cuts to services, infrastructure, and economic development.
“Ministries that are dedicated to the development of the Northern economy, like the Ministries of Natural Resources and Forestry and Northern Development and Mines, have been cut by hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Mantha. “There wasn’t even lip service to the billion dollars in funding needed to build roads to the Ring of Fire, or a commitment to meaningful consultations with impacted First Nations.
“And the government announced its intention to interfere with the successful Northern Ontario Heritage Fund. Instead of investing in the North, why is Doug Ford choosing to cut funding for Northern Ontario economic development?” Mantha said to make matters worse the Ford government made deep cuts to infrastructure spending which will mean less funding to improve Northern roads, bridges, schools and hospitals, or provide northern transit, like the Northlander.
“The government once again refused to commit to reinstating the Northlander passenger rail service,” said Mantha. “And as we all know the cuts to education will hit rural and northern schools the hardest.”
Mantha said the North was ignored under Kathleen Wynne and years of Liberal governments — but it looks like Doug Ford is making it much, much worse.