Published on: 5/9/2014 3:53:30 PM Print | Font Sizes:  Normal Text Large Text

Think before you divest, Queen’s Park

By: Northern Ontario Business staff

Ontario Northland Transportation Commission headquarters.
Ontario Northland Transportation Commission headquarters.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) wants Queen’s Park to do its homework before unilaterally deciding next time to sell off any Crown corporations or impose legislation that hurts Northern businesses and industry.

At its annual general meeting in Sault Ste. Marie, the OCC adopted a policy platform put forward by the Timmins chamber that the province be required to research the full social and economic impact of the controversial Endangered Species Act as well as any future plans to auction off provincial agencies.

On the latter, the Timmins chamber specifically referenced the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC). Ontario’s auditor general said the government’s rush to divest itself of the ONTC would have cost taxpayers almost $1 billion, according to Ontario’s auditor general.

The recommendations were voted on and adopted by more than 100 delegates at the gathering, May 2-4.

"Government must begin to take the politics out of its policies, and instead look at the true cost of making decisions long before committing to them,” said Timmins chamber president Phil Barton in a statement. “Our policies simply ask for due diligence."

The Timmins chamber recommendations drew support from their colleagues in Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.

“Given the ongoing effect of the Endangered Species Act on forestry access, and the province's open desire to consider selling more Crown corporations, our members will definitely benefit from having the Ontario Chamber of Commerce adopt these policies," Barton added.

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