Despite being one of the most traveled routes for good through Canada, Northern Ontario highways are largely 2-lanes wide, with dangerous turns, with ice and snow-locked areas throughout most of the year. These highways often experience delays due to traffic accidents, greatly affecting the movement of product through the province and making travel for recreation, medical, or shopping needs hazardous for the people living here. Passenger rail service is almost non-existent, providing no connections between the major cities, let alone the many small towns throughout our end of the province.
To make matters still worse, the Far North fares even worse. Ice roads are hazardous, and they’re only navigable for a short time, less every year. With small aircraft only able to make the journey in the best of weather, this leaves a fair number of people in Northern Ontario completely cut off from the rest of the country for a large part of the year.
The Northern Ontario party has a number of different proposals that could help alleviate these issues. These include:
- Return of Northlander Rail service, providing connections from Toronto, through North Bay, all the way to Cochrane. From there, passengers travelling further north can take passenger rail to Moosonee, or hop aboard Ontario Northland bussing which services most of the “Near-North”.
- Development of East-West rail service through Northern Ontario. See our petition for additional details.
- Establish road & rail service from Nakina to the Ring of Fire, with a potential circular rail route through Attawapiskat to Moosonee.
- Create a rail circle servicing North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie, Nakina and Timmins, plus a number of points in between.
- Extend rail service or connections to Thunder Bay.
- Push the Federal Government for action on the Canadian Northern Corridor, which will create additional opportunities to connect communities throughout the North to markets both local and overseas.
- Encourage the development of a Northern Shipping Port, like the one proposed in Moosonee, that could utilize the Northwest Passage to provide supply support to coastal communities in the North and provide an additional international shipping port for Northern Europe and Asia.
It’s not a big bang approach. It can be rolled out over three years, and the advantage of that is it keeps initial costs down, and it allows you to gauge the market and the ridership and the revenue.