November 23rd, 2021

NDP’s Vanthof demands safety, increased maintenance on northern highways

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP John Vanthof (Timiskaming-Cochrane) blasted the Ford Conservatives for failing to keep Northerners safe on highways 11 and 17 after portions of the highways were shut down for over 24 hours during Northern Ontario’s first snow fall and deaths involving commercial vehicles on those highways increased 40 per cent this summer.

“It’s absolutely bone-chilling terrifying to be on a northern highway that hasn’t been cleared. In Northern Ontario, there are no places to park, no places to stop and you’ve already been on the road for several hours when you find out the road is closed,” said Vanthof.

“Families in North Bay, Timmins, Sudbury and the communities and towns that depend on these highways deserve to know that these roads will be clear and safe this winter. This government has had over three years to make our highways safe. The NDP put forward legislation to make Highway 11 and 17 class-1 highways for winter maintenance, like the 400 series, because they’re the Trans-Canada Highway. Instead of protecting northern families, the Ford Conservatives voted solidly against it.

“Northerners need to know, will this government make Highway 11 and 17 and the Trans-Canada Highway a class-1 highway for winter maintenance once and for all?”

In response, the Ford government said the roads are good enough, ignoring the lack of winter maintenance and OPP statistics that show deaths involving commercial vehicles on those highways went up 40 per cent this summer.

“This government must stop ignoring this safety crisis and take action now to stop further tragedies on our roads and keep Northerners safe,” said Vanthof.