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In Sudbury by-election: Don’t vote Liberal!

We the North
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It’s a rare day when the leader of or a large union finds himself in agreement with the opinions published by the Sun newspaper chain.

Consider this one of those days.

The piece “Liberals ignored spirit of the law in Sudbury” (The Sudbury Star January 28) was spot on. The apparent baiting of Andrew Olivier to forego the Liberal nomination in favour of a plum appointment at Queen’s Park by a pair of party operatives is nothing short of scandalous. Responsibility for this sort of backroom sleight-of-hand rests squarely at the feet of Premier Kathleen Wynne.

But the commentary did not drill down deep enough. The record is clear: the Liberals have ignored Sudbury. Period. End stop.

For the better part of the past 20 years Sudbury was represented by a Liberal; namely, former MPP Rick Bartolucci, who managed to make his way into cabinet for more than six of those years. He was widely regarded as the unofficial minister for all of northern Ontario and held for a time the post of Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Chair of Cabinet.

You might think for all that ministerial clout Sudbury would have prospered. Think again.

What does Sudbury have to show for its loyalty to the Liberal party? Based on the evidence, not much at all.

Let’s look at how Sudbury has fared after 11 years of Liberal rule.

The local economy is struggling. Whatever new jobs are created they overwhelmingly fall into the category of precarious employment: low-paying service jobs with few benefits and no job security.

That, in turn, has led to an exodus of young people from Sudbury to urban centres in the south. The Liberals have failed miserably to devise a jobs strategy that will keep well-educated young graduates in the north, close to their home communities.

Anyone who drives knows too well the frightful conditions of local roads and highways, particularly in winter months. Road maintenance in the north was handed over to a private Australian company years ago and they’ve dutifully delivered on more potholes and less snow clearing. Lives are put at risk and the Liberals shrug.

The Wynne government’s threat of privatization hangs like a noose over public services. Local residents are entitled to the quality public services their taxes underwrite but Liberals are determined to hand more of those services over at dollar store discounts to the private sector where, as the Auditor General recently reported, there is higher costs (translated: fat profit margins) and less accountability. Is this what we deserve from our tax dollars?

Add it all up and the picture becomes painfully clear: 20 years of Liberal dominance over Sudbury has yielded little in the way of tangible benefits. This proud community of hard working families deserves better. Much better.

Voters on Feb. 5 have a clear choice: more of the same fruitless Liberal rule, or a fresh start behind a candidate who puts the needs of their community first.

My advice? Don’t vote Liberal.