John Vanthof, NDP MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane, challenged the Ford government Tuesday morning for its’ second-class treatment of drivers on Highways 11 and 17 in the North.
“Last night, Highway 17 east of Nipigon was closed due to snow. Highway 11 between Nipigon and Cochrane was also closed, causing serious difficulties and delays to drivers trying to get home. People and freight were stranded, with no possible alternate route to take home,” Vanthof said in the legislature.
“This is the Trans-Canada highway we’re talking about — a vital economic link for Ontario. But because first the Liberals and now the Ford government don’t consider Northern Ontario and the upkeep of its roadways a priority, last night this link was cut in half — Northern Ontario was cut in half.”
On Nov. 7, the Ford Conservatives voted against an NDP-led bill that would have improved winter highway maintenance on Highways 11 and 17 and reduced winter closures, making snow clearance on Highways 11 and 17 as much a priority as it is on the 400-series highways in the south. The Conservative MPP for Nipissing told media that northern highways should continue to be classified as Class 2 highways, rather than upgraded to Class 1.
“As we saw last night, Northern Ontario families continue to pay the price for the Ford government’s second-class treatment,” Vanthof said.
“Why do Doug Ford and his cabinet members from Northern Ontario believe that Northern Ontarians deserve second-class safety and road clearing?”
Editor’s Note: At the time of this posting, Highway 17 is closed.
511ONNorthwestern – HWY17 at Peninsula Rd, all lanes closed due to a collision. Traffic control in place. Please leave space for emergency vehicles.
Schreiber Fire – Emergency crews are responding to a serious single vehicle accident on #HWY17, km 813 near Neys Provincial Park. Avoid the area if possible. Expect delays. Pull over for emergency vehicles.