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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Call of the Northland: Official Announcement



Two years of ONTC debate have hurt northern Ontario, author argues
March 20, 2014

Two years after the Ontario government announced the divestment of the ONTC, the author of an upcoming book is calling on the government and stakeholders to find a resolution to the ONTC issue as quickly and as fairly as possible to avoid any further uncertainty for residents of northern Ontario reliant on ONTC services.

This fall, author and photographer Thomas Blampied, who specializes in rail transportation, will release Call of the Northland: Riding the Train that Nearly Toppled a Government. The book charts the uncertainty of the past two years, which saw the iconic Northlander passenger train cancelled and northern life made more difficult by the doubtful future of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.

“The McGuinty government was not the first to attempt to divest the ONTC, but its lack of research and consultation meant its plan was doomed from the start,” explained the author, who began work on the book while aboard the Northlander in April 2012.

“The trip made me aware of how hurt northerners were by the loss of their Northlander and how they felt the McGuinty government was ignoring them. The ONTC is an integral part of life in the north.”

“The recent joint management/union business plan and the Wynne government’s decision to transform the ONTC are both promising signs. However, it is important to remember that people are suffering because of the ONTC fiasco and that a fair and sensible resolution is needed quickly.”

The book traces the 112-year history of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, the various attempts to dismantle it, and the political drama of the past two years, all retold through the author’s round-trip journey from Toronto to Cochrane aboard the Northlander.

“As the December 2013 Ontario Auditor General’s report showed, the 2012 divestment plan was not clearly researched and the government was not fully aware of the financial implications of divestment. In the end, northern Ontario residents are the ones who have paid the price for a careless government policy.”

Call of the Northland will be released in late September 2014. For more details, visit the book’s website:


To read the full release, click here.

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