Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli says there’s no shortage of highlights in his first budget for the north and the North Bay area.

During his budget speech, Ontario’s Finance Minister specifically mentioned they continue to work towards bringing back passenger rail service.

He says they continue to meet with Ontario Northland and the Ministry of Transportation, too.

“It is long and complicated because the Liberals decimated it, we lost our spot at Union Station, we lost our depots, it’s just not a ‘snap your fingers’, it’s one of our promises, to return passenger rail service in four years, we’ve been there for nine and a half months and we’ve had a tremendous amount of meetings on it,” he says.

Fedeli also says there’s a northern Ontario internship program, broadband initiative and there’s funding for cities to modernize and digitize to save money.

There’s also tax credits for film production,  which is being welcomed by the film industry.

“I was watching them as I spoke on the budget and talked about the tax credit, they just gave a big nod and big applause and they’re off and flying.  You’re going to see more and more film production in North Bay,” he says.

There’s also the creation of the Big Game Management Committee.

“They’re going to look at ways to make the moose tag process more fair and more accessible and a lot easier for 2020.  That’s something I put into the budget because of so many people who are hunters having trouble getting a moose tag,” he says.

Fedeli also says there’s dental care for low-income seniors, which is a universal program for all of Ontario, but he says they hear about it at the constituency office.


Meantime, the North Bay and District Labour Council says a budget protest is planned for next Wednesday afternoon outside Fedeli’s office on Main Street.

In a tweet, they say there’s nothing for passenger rail while there’s cuts to education, healthcare, Indigenous affairs, social welfare and decent public sector jobs.


Still with the budget, Canadore College is welcoming the creation of a one-window digital portal for apprentices.

College President George Burton says the move will produce more apprentices to help Ontario close it’s staggering skills gap.

Officials say the current system is awash in red tape.

Canadore also welcomes 60 percent of post-secondary funding being tied to performance outcomes by 2024-25.


(File photo by station staff)

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