By Tammy Flores
November 6th, 2013 Edition
On October 30th, 2003, Dalton McGuinty gave his first speech as Premier to the Economic Club of Toronto. He used weighty words claiming that his predecessors produced budgets the way that the circus puts on an act with smoke, mirrors and spin. He touted that he would put the public interest ahead of political interest, give people the straight goods, and tell people the truth about the province’s accounts. He was critical about the sale of 407ETR saying it was sold at fire sale prices, putting short-term political interests ahead of the public interest.
What did he do about 407ETR issues? He commissioned Harinder Takhar to conduct a review of 407ETR’s customer service. On November 12th, 2004 the Ontario Liberal Party’s “circus act with smoke, mirrors and spin” began.
The problems that were found in that review, still exists to this very day. Dalton McGuinty did absolutely nothing about rising tolls and customer service issues. As a matter of fact he quit, made an “amicable” settlement with this company, threw consumers under the bus and blamed Mike Harris for everything. So much for putting the public interest ahead of political interest.
Now we have this highway being extended to the east and a government that has performed the greatest circus act of all. The Ontario Liberal Party claims that the extension will be publicly owned and that they will be able to control tolls and customer service issues. However, they gave the same consortium of investors in the current 108 KM’s, not only the contract to design and build the extension, but also the contract to operate and maintain the highway for 30 years. Nothing with respect to tolls or customer service issues will change. It’s all just smoke, mirrors and spin.
Tim Hudak says government should stay out of a business’ way and let them create jobs, etc… I would ask him & any other leader to take that thought a step further and say, if a company wants to build a highway without a gate, find a way to protect your own bottom line. The government should keep out of this company’s business and stop acting as this company’s own personal collection agency. Change the 407 Act!