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“We have to hope Ford lives up to his promises” safety advocate for northern highways says

The Northern Ontario ridings through which Highways 11 and 17 run were won by a mix of PC and NDP Members of Parliament in the June 2nd provincial election. Map: Ontario

“Now, we have to hope Doug Ford lives up to his campaign promises,” says Richard Deschamps.

“We really need Doug Ford to be thinking about the Trans-Canada highway. If British Columbia can 4-lane it through the mountains, why can’t Ontario get it done?”

Deschamps spoke to Road Warrior News about the results of the provincial election after Ford and the Ontario PC Party had unofficially been declared the victors on the June 2nd.  (Counting of mail-in ballots and other special ballots continues until June 9th; however, the official counts which will be finalized then are not expected to have any significant impact on the counts released June 2nd.)

During the election campaign, Premier Doug Ford made a number of promises including reconstruction of Highway 101 through Timmons and four-laning Highway 17.  

Life-long professional Trucker Deschamps is spokesperson for the group “Highways 11 and 17 kill People”  and has been lobbying for safer conditions since a friend died on Highway 17 last Christmas. The group’s petition has received more than 15,000 signatures to date.

Trucker and safety advocate Richard Deschamps Photo: supplied

“Training is still the #1 biggest concern,” Deschamps emphasizes. “Road conditions are a close second, after Ontario deals with the fake schools and counterfeit credentials the OPP announced last month.”

NDP members including John Vanthof have been vocal in recent months in asking for improvements to northern highways.

Ontario’s “Budget 2022,” which served as the PC Party’s election platform, committed to investments including:

  • Over $158 billion invested in highways and key infrastructure over the next 10 years, including $20 billion in 2022–23 alone.
  • Highways like the Bradford Bypass, a corridor that will ease gridlock on Highway 400 and existing east-west roads and support the rapid growth of Simcoe County and York Region over the next 10 years.
  • Building Highway 413, which will save drivers up to 30 minutes each way on their commute
  • Enabling the future widening of Highway 401 in the GTA and Eastern Ontario
  • Building Highway 7, which will improve travel times between Kitchener and Guelph.
  • Constructing a new twin bridge on the QEW over the Welland Canal, connecting the City of St. Catharines to the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Reconstruction of Highway 101 in Timmins
  • Expansion of the GO Transit network and other public transit, extending rail lines across the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Southwestern Ontario.
  • Advancing work on the Bowmanville GO extension and exploring how to increase the speed and frequency of the London GO.
  • The Ontario Line, the centrepiece of the largest subway expansion in Canadian history

The chart below, based on Elections Ontario unofficial data, lists 4 Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) victories and 6 New Democratic Party (NDP) victories:

Algoma-ManitoulinMichael MANTHA (NDP)
Kenora-Rainy RiverGreg RICKFORD (PC)
KiiwetinoongSol MAMAKWA (NDP)
Mushkegowuk— James BayGuy BOURGOUIN (NDP)
Nickel BeltFrance GÉLINAS (NDP)
NipissingVic FEDELI (PC)
Timiskaming— CochraneJohn VANTHOF (NDP)
TimmonsGeorge PIRIE (PC)
Thunder Bay— AtikokanKevin HOLLAND (PC)
Thunder Bay – Superior NorthLise VAUGEOIS (NDP)