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Auditor-General’s report proves winter road maintenance privatization has failed: NDP

Posted in Canada

Published on April 30, 2015 with No Comments

Queen’s Park – The Auditor-General’s scathing report on Ontario’s winter road maintenance proves that privatization has failed, say New Democrats.


“This report proves what the NDP has been saying for years: privatization has failed,” said Gilles Bisson, MPP, Timmins-James Bay. “The Auditor-General has shown that our roads, particularly in the North, have become less safe under the Liberal government. Just think what it will happen if they privatize Hydro One.”


In particular, The Auditor-General blamed the shift to “performance-based” contracts under the Liberal government for the sharp decline is road safety. This switch to “Area Maintenance Contracts” meant that ministry staffers would no longer decide when to deploy snowplows or apply road salt. Instead, these decisions would be left up to the private contractor.


The Auditor-General said the government focused solely on cost when selecting contractors, and not safety.


Kathleen Wynne was Transportation Minister in 2010-11, when many of the new “Area Maintenance Contracts” were signed.


The NDP has raised the issue of poor winter road maintenance for years. In 2012, the NDP launched its Northern Road Report to monitor complaints. One year ago, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell successfully passed a motion demanding that the government review its winter road maintenance contracts and improve winter road conditions.


Last year, the NDP submitted a Freedom-of-Information request seeking copies of all the area maintenance contracts, as well as penalties. The government has still not fulfilled this request.


“Drivers heading to Manitoba can tell where the border is because the roads are suddenly cleared properly. Those roads are cleared by public workers,” said NDP Transportation Critic, Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls). “The government needs to get away from privatization, and put public safety first.”



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