Brian R. Gatien is the Chair, Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce
As Chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, I feel it necessary to express the incredulous dismay of our members and that of the community upon hearing the announcement to provide funding to establish a mining innovation centre at the University of Toronto.
The country (and province) already has a world class facility here in the heart of the world’s leading mining community, whose sole purpose is to develop the very best mining technology and pursue innovative research projects.
As part of the Laurentian University campus, the Centre for Mining Excellence and Innovation (CEMI) is exclusively dedicated to developing new technologies and conducting cutting edge research in the field of mining. Full time researchers are working with undergraduate and graduate students from the university, the country and world to conduct important investigations that will eventually guarantee Canada’s position as the leader in mining. Time and time again, they have demonstrated that they are capable of competing with the rest of the world – provided they are given a chance.
However, your decision to approve this funding seems to manifest a lack of awareness of the long history of mining expertise in the community and diminishes the strengths, values and contributions the north has made to the overall progress of the province and country.
It sends precisely the wrong message to northerners, young and old and will dilute CEMI’s capacity to effectively carry out its mandate. In short, this perpetuates the all too familiar narrative that “if you want to succeed, then you must go south”.
Our community asks you to correct this inexplicable decision and provide CEMI with funding equivalent to what the province has provided and what has been requested for a number of years.