Timmins-James Bay candidates square off over roads, evacuations
Provincial election candidates in northeastern Ontario say they're getting a lot of questions about one municipal issue in particular: the state of local roads.
Candidates in the Sudbury riding exchanged barbs over potholes last week, and those running to be MPP in Timmins-James Bay say they're hearing the same thing.
Conservative candidate Steve Black, who is also a Timmins city councillor, said all three major parties have made the issue part of their platforms.
And Black said his party has “identified that we'll have an Ontario Transportation Fund and really have identified funding in it.”
“So I'm quite confident the Conservative government would have that identified funding that municipalities need,” he said.
Incumbent New Democrat Gilles Bisson said he has noticed that some cities and towns manage their road networks better than others, saying his rides through Hearst have been quite smooth.
Bumpy ride on social issues
The candidates in Timmins-James Bay also say the province has a larger role to play in solving some of the economic and social problems on the coast.
While it's often seen as federal turf, Bisson said he has worked closely with Cree communities, and that provincial taxpayers foot the bill for the frequent evacuations.
Those evacuations wouldn't be needed if people were moved to higher ground, noted.
"I think it's really a crying shame. We're spending $400,000 a day to evacuate the people out of Kashechewan, a community we know floods every year."
But Liberal candidate Sylvie Fontaine accused Bisson of taking credit for things that the Liberal government has done to help people of the James Bay.
"When you're not in power it's kind of hard to say, ‘I did and I did and we did and we did’,” she said.
Both Fontaine and Conservative Steven Black said it's too expensive to go to the James Bay coast during the election campaign.
However, during a recent CBC debate, Bisson offered to fly them both up on his personal airplane.