Vic Fedeli's announcement yesterday has not gone down well with the ONTC unions or with the other political parties. Both groups have accused Fedeli of merely trying to gain political points and that his information is not new at all. I beg to differ.
It is important to remember that it was the Conservative Party that started the whole mess of divestment back in 2000, although they did later back down. The latest attempt to sell off the ONTC was a Liberal policy, with both the NDP and Conservatives opposed to the idea. I am sceptical of how much the Conservatives would actually do to protect the ONTC, but I also believe that what Fedeli has uncovered is important new information.
Until yesterday, nobody had numbers on a piece of paper. All speculation were just that - speculations. Of course, the projected cost of $790 million is a worst-case scenario and purely theoretical, which is why it was printed in a confidential government document. But it is important to note that we now have an actual number to throw at the government which is just as 'accurate' as the government's claims that the process will save money. The other important piece of information uncovered is that the united front for divestment is a weak façade: civil servants have called for the process to be delayed as the numbers do not work. Instead, the government has (until recently) insisted on continuing as fast as possible, ignoring the wise advice contained in these documents.
I strongly believe that the ONTC divestment mess should not be a partisan issue. I think that northern Ontario deserves all parties to work together for the benefit of the people - not political prowess. While it is fair to criticise what Fedeli said yesterday, please don't believe that the Liberal and NDP attacks are altruistic. They too have a political motive.