Jamie Fox wants Ottawa to treat Islanders equally

Teresa Wright
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Prince Edward Island Progressive Conservative Party Leader Jamie Fox, standing on th steps of the Coles Building in Charlottetown, says membership in his party continues to grow and that he is looking forward to more good things for the Island in 2016.

Considering resolution asking for end to Confederation Bridge tolls

Opposition Leader Jamie Fox, says he is considering bringing forward a resolution in the P.E.I. legislation calling for Ottawa to make the Confederation Bridge free for Islanders.

In his year-end interview with The Guardian, Fox says he has met with Liberal Senator Percy Downe, who has been championing this issue in an attempt to see Islanders receive equal treatment as the citizens of Quebec.

Ottawa has promised to make the Champlain Bridge in Montreal toll free.

But, Fox says he wants to approach the issue carefully to ensure any changes to the agreement for the Confederation Bridge do not negatively impact the Wood Islands ferry service.

“We need to be pushing the government for a long-term commitment and contract for the Wood Islands Ferry so when you take that back to the Confederation Bridge, I think Wood Islands plays a very important part in that,” Fox said.

He says he has heard from many P.E.I. residents about how much of a burden the bridge toll has been for low-income Islanders forced to travel out-of-province for medical procedures.

That’s why Fox would like to see the Confederation Bridge tolls lifted, in addition to a long-term stable contract for the ferry service in Wood Islands.

“If you’re going to change something for the province of Quebec with the Champlain Bridge, then what about the province of Prince Edward Island?”

Looking back over the past year, Fox noted it was a big year in politics for his Progressive Conservative party – a year that began with a three-way leadership race, an increased seat count after the spring provincial election, but a major upset with former party leader Rob Lantz failing to win a seat and eventually resigning in September.

Fox took over as interim leader in mid-October and is the third leader of the party in 2015.

Despite the Progressive Conservative leadership woes, Fox says he is not interested in rehashing the party’s past divisions and problems. He is only interested in looking forward.

“We need to be pushing the government for a long-term commitment and contract for the Wood Islands Ferry" Opposition Leader Jamie Fox

“We’ve got a great caucus, we have a brand new executive, we have a membership that is on the increase and has risen, we are engaging the youth,” Fox said.

“My challenge is to keep all of these different groups moving forward with the same goal within the party to be the best we can for the province of Prince Edward Island.”

As for government, Fox says he would like to see what Premier Wade MacLauchlan’s plan is for the province.

“We have a premier who has stated he is going to be open and transparent, he has a plan. Well what is the plan? Because what I’m seeing is a government and a premier who is not open and transparent.”

Green leader Peter Bevan-Baker, said 2015 has indeed been a big year for P.E.I. politics, particularly in electing a green party candidate to the P.E.I. legislature for the first time in history.

Bevan-Baker noted a number of major initiatives that began in 2015 will carry over into the coming year, including electoral reform, energy and education.

But he did not share Fox’s concerns over MacLauchlan’s approach to these issues.

“I think a lot of big changes have started and are coming, but I do think this is a more consultative government than Islanders have been used to,” he said.

“I think big changes are needed. Perhaps a lot is happening in a hurry, and that is a little daunting… but I think the premier has a pretty clear vision of what he wants in certain areas and I hope the changes that he has in mind are brought about in consultation, and I think that’s really critical – that there is true engagement with Islanders.”

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Tory

Geographic location: Ottawa, P.E.I., Wood Islands Prince Edward Island Province of Quebec Montreal

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Recent comments

  • Just Sayin
    January 04, 2016 - 16:28

    Jamie Fox lived and was Police Chief in Borden while this bridge was being built, where was he then? Does it take a Liberal Senator to motivate a Conservative Leader?

  • Dave
    January 04, 2016 - 13:41

    We need to be careful when we ask for equal treatment, for a population of 135 000, we have it pretty good. This is a commuter bridge in a population of 4 000 000 people. This is far from an apples to apples comparison. Lots of bridges have tolls.

  • truthbetold
    January 04, 2016 - 12:07

    I spend 180$ per month on that bridge so that I can see my daughter. This bridge is part of highway 1, the trans Canada, and the cost should have been absorbed by the feds right from the start, IMO

    • UPWESTER
      January 04, 2016 - 16:25

      It's not as simple as to just abandon tolls. The gov't does not own the bridge. Who and how much is going to pay Strait Crossings? They have a deal that runs until 2032. The Fed. Gov't has been paying the mortgage on the bridge since 1996 at around $50 Million a year, and has to pay it to 2032. As well, Strait Crossing make around $80 - 100 Million a year on tolls. Who is going to pay for this, certainly not PEI.

  • wade Mason
    January 04, 2016 - 11:56

    Mr Foxx you mean treat us like Mr Harper did do you think he treat us fair

  • James
    January 04, 2016 - 11:45

    Sorry to say, this will never happen

  • Islander
    January 04, 2016 - 10:32

    Jamie Fox had better do his job in the Legislature first. He did not have to offer an apology to the Premier for trying to get truthful answers on egaming. Go after them, they are wrong. Also the childish argument about the word "may" or "should about releaseing information. What a joke, the Government is so scared of this.

  • Billy
    January 04, 2016 - 08:40

    I would like to see it free for more than medical trips to include grocery/ clothes shopping and cheaper gas. Although I could pick up a lot of groceries etc on my medical trips, if the Borden cops don't stop me to see what I'm bringing back! This ain't going to happen folks, Quebec is treated as another country by the Feds not a province.

  • Pandering for votes
    January 03, 2016 - 23:33

    How quickly people forget what it was to wait hours for a boat. I don't mind paying it is safe and looked after. People need to realize that we make no money on pei we could never afford this bridge. This guy is trying to make himself look good with an issue that is a non issue. We have bigger things to worry about than no toll so people can spend their money at Costco and not on PEI.

  • MFH
    January 03, 2016 - 22:04

    Thank You Jamie for stepping up. I hope more officials and citizens will join him and Senator Downe in making this happen

  • AMAZED
    January 03, 2016 - 20:33

    Why was Fox silent on this when his leader Harper was in power ??? Why did Fox say nothing in 1996 when Binns was elected and the bridge was just about to open ??? Why does Fox warrant a year end interview in the first place ???????? Bevan Baker is the real opposition here !

  • Islander
    January 03, 2016 - 18:58

    Jamie Fox made headway on the egaming, than the Premier made a motion and Fox apologized making a fool of himself. There was absoluetly no reason for an apology. Further, they all talk transparency, just what does that means to them 1% to 100%.....The Government wants the word "may" engraved in Legislation ,as thaytgives them the option to release or not to release. Any grade one student could figure out this language. The Government is trying to sneak in Legislation that would not be transparent as they preach. Bevan Baker has a pretty good handle on what they are trying to do and he wants all parties to engage in consultation which makes sense. The bidge tolls should be lifted for everyone, this will bring tourist and everyone get treated the same. People's rights are ingrained in the Charter of Rights and Freedom. If Montreal gets it we should get it, no brainer. So, Premier get on with this.

  • Laurent Beaulieu
    January 03, 2016 - 18:29

    News Flash! Jamie Fox is about to cross the floor to the Liberal side. Why would the Conservative adopt a Federal Liberal populist position? This is too bad because in the long run it will not serve the people of PEI if the toll is abolished.