Tory cabinet minister Greg Rickford - who is also the MPP for the district -- says he wants to start twinning the Trans-Canada.

"It is my top priority. I am currently working through the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario to push this file, move it to the top of the list and get this going," he said Friday.

Rickford noted he was with the prime minister and the premier nine years ago, when funding was announced. However, since then, Rickford says nothing's been done.

"We're finding a disturbing trend of projects that were completed in ridings where the Liberals held seats," he said Friday.

As the MP for Kenora, the provincial cabinet minister was critical of his federal counterpart's efforts.

"There is nobody else that's seized of this file. The federal member is not. If he says he is, he's had a couple of years to get on it, and nothing -- frankly -- has been accomplished," Rickford said, during Friday's conference call with local media.

Last August, Kenora MP Bob Nault said he was 'shocked' by a provincial report that said it could take until 2021, before the project moved ahead. At the same time, the MP noted the province announced the twinning of the Trans-Canada east of Thunder Bay earlier in August of 2017.

A year ago, Nault said it was also possible the $100 million allocated for the district -- which has been sitting at Queen's Park -- may have been used for the road improvements near Thunder Bay, instead of Kenora.

When contacted before the June provincial election, staff at the MTO said they remained committed to the project, but reserved comment on money set aside for the project.

Ministry spokesman Joshua Henry added, "before construction can commence, we have several steps to complete including obtaining environmental clearances and completing consultations with FNs (First Nations) and Métis communities, to identify and mitigate any potential adverse impacts as a result of the project."

Rickford, when he was Natural Resources Minister in Ottawa, was also involved in some controversy related to the project. In the lead up to the last federal vote, Rickford was grilled by residents of Shoal Lake 40, who said twinning the Trans-Canada wouldn't proceed, until Freedom Road was completed.

Freedom Road would connect the man-made island to the Trans-Canada on the Manitoba side of the provincial border with Ontario. No date has been announced for the completion of Freedom Road.

As premier, Kathleen Wynne also said in the spring the province was waiting for the completion of Freedom Road, before twinning could move forward. A Facebook site has been set up offering updates on the project.

For more information:

Wynne tackles NWO issues

Nault 'shocked' by delay

 

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