In June 2018, Doug Ford became Premier of Ontario after running on a platform that included restoring the Northlander Passenger Train. This train was part of Ontario Northland, which the Liberal Party discontinued in 2012. Except for an allotted 5 million dollars in 2021 to conduct a study looking into the planning of bringing the train back, nothing more has been done. The Northlander had been essential for keeping Ontario citizens in remote, northern communities connected throughout the province. 

Many months later, the Ontario Green Party is still waiting for results and is pressuring the government after they committed 6 million dollars to a new highway in the south of the province. At the same time, no new moves have been made to further reinstate the Northlander. Kris Rivard, an Ontario provincial Green Party candidate, has stated,

So the Green Party is trying to put some pressure on the current government in order to move forward with their plans and promises made in 2018.”

Rivard also pointed to environmental reasons behind focusing on developing and encouraging rail travel within the province. Trains account for far less C02 emissions than vehicles. Furthermore, Rivard makes the valid point that northern Ontario winters can be harsh, and driving can be dangerous. In addition, gas prices are unprecedentedly high right now, and it is more economical to take public transit. So this issue moves past being one of convenience for Ontarians to one of being important for safety, the environment, and affordability. While this train connects regions that aren’t very populated, its citizens still deserve to be thought of for infrastructure and development and Premier Ford should live up to his promises.

Danna Houssian

Danna graduated with an M.A from Simon Fraser University and a B.A from the University of Victoria. She is highly interested in international relations and defense.

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