Articles for the Month of December 2017

NEORN Media Release and Latest Media Coverage

1 NEORN Media Release





December 19, 2017
Contacts: Lucille Frith –
Howie Wilcox –


Now 4 advocacy groups working on returning passenger rail service to Northeastern Ontario – a louder voice!!!

The Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) is delighted that the government has announced that bus service will be improved in Northern Ontario. However, reinstatement of passenger rail should also be a priority. An integrated transportation system means a truly multimodal strategy, where travel by road, rail, and air all have their role. What we have in the north is almost entirely dependent on road travel, specifically through car ownership.

The voice for rail renewal in northern Ontario has become much louder, as there are now four groups advocating for reinstatement of passenger rail transportation in the region. These groups are the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN), the Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel (CPMRT), the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT), and All Aboard Northern Ontario.

All these advocacy groups are working towards the same goal: the establishment of a modern rail transportation system that is a truly innovative Northeastern Ontario initiative, that utilizes existing rail infrastructure to move people. In order to encourage professionals, students, and tourists to come and stay in our Northern Ontario communities, we have to upscale our transportation. Our reliance solely on road travel, when all other jurisdictions are moving toward fast passenger train service, is seriously impeding our economic development and prosperity, to the point that our towns and cities are at risk of dramatic population decline and becoming ghost towns. The municipalities, businesses, students, and so many others that we have talked with want an integrated and accessible passenger rail service that provides transportation in addition to the retention and expansion of business opportunities in Northeastern Ontario that promote sustainability in the long-term.

Three political parties, the New Democratic Party (NDP), the Progressive Conservatives (PC), and the Northern Ontario Party (NOP) have endorsed the need for passenger rail service in their policy statements going forward into the next election. The municipalities along the Toronto – Cochrane – Hearst rail line as well as the municipalities along the Sault Ste Marie – Hearst rail line have signed resolutions endorsing the return of passenger rail for the benefit of their communities. There is an election in the spring – get on board. Support the return of passenger rail service in Northeastern Ontario.

For further information on this initiative, please contact NEORN Spokespeople:

Lucille Frith at or Howie Wilcox

Here are the weblinks for each of the advocacy groups:

Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT)            

Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel (CPMRT  

North-Eastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN             

All Aboard Northern Ontario                                     

2.Latest Media Coverage:

Sault Star “CP Holiday Train brings joy” – by  Nadine Robinson, December 12, 2017—robinson

PC platform includes promises for the North


Image of Vic Fideli

Promises things for the North

North Bay Nugget,

By Gord Young

Sunday November 26, 2017

Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives would bring back passenger rail service to Northern Ontario, establish resource revenue-sharing agreements with local communities and ensure that the North is considered in every decision made at Queen’s Park.

The pledges are among the many that are included in the party’s 80-page campaign platform – the People’s Guarantee – unveiled Saturday at a policy convention in Toronto.

The plan focuses on five key promises, including tax cuts for the middle class, a refund for childcare expenses, a further 12 per cent cut to hydro bills, new funding for mental health and legislation to address integrity and accountability at Queen’s Park.

But it also includes dozens of other promised measures, some specifically tailored for the North.

That includes requiring every cabinet submission to be subject to a Northern Ontario assessment, as well as the return of passenger rail service by the end of the party’s mandate.

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, who called the Tory plan a “tremendous platform” says a Northern Ontario light would be shone on every government decision if the PCs are elected next year.

“There could be two versions of every bill,” he said, noting the impact on the North would be assessed with each decision and changes made accordingly.

He said the return of the Northlander passenger train wouldn’t happen overnight, although the Tories would get started on the process.

“There’s a lot of work that has to get done,” said Fedeli, noting the process would require rebuilding from the ground up now that passenger rail service has been gone for a number of years.

He said environmental assessment work would be required, along with the purchase and upgrading of cars and equipment.

The Tory plan also calls for a portion of the provincial revenues collected from aggregate licenses, stumpage fees and the mining profits tax to be redistributed to local host municipalities or indigenous communities to help fund specific community projects and improvements.

In addition, the PCs would invest in a mobile PET scanner for Northern Ontario and ensure that the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund is not only fully allocated or rolled over to the next year, but increased annually according to inflation.

The Tories have also promised to reverse a 148 per cent increase to the aviation fuel tax for all Northern airports and ensure all hunting and fishing license fees are spent on wildlife conservation.

“Patrick Brown knocked it out of the park with his speech,” said Fedeli, of the party leader’s address to 1,500 PC delegates during Saturday’s convention.

Although some pledges focus entirely on the North, he said the key pillars of the party platform are universal for all of Ontario.

The plan to spend $1.9 billion over the next decade to address mental health-care, for instance, will be “hugely important” to the Nipissing riding, said Fedeli, noting often he sees through his office the gaps in treatment and people slipping though the cracks.

He said dental care for low income seniors in another plank in the platform that will make a big difference in people’s lives.

The platform includes more nearly 150 promises covering a wide range of issues from transit to health care. The plan will also keep many of the Liberal’s biggest spending plans including free pharma care for anyone under the age of 24 years olds, all-day kindergarten and the free tuition plan for post-secondary students.

The platform projects that a PC government would fall into deficit of $2.8 billion in its first year, while posting progressive surpluses that range from $8 million in 2019-2020 to $767 million in 2021-2022.

With file from the Canadian Press.