(QUEEN’S PARK) Minutes ago, in a vote of 46 to 26, the Dalton McGuinty Liberals completed their headlong rush to pass Bill 191 through the legislature with as little consultation as possible. The bill remained almost unchanged from its introduction, a stunning testament to a government that has completely abandoned its Northern Constituents.
“This is a sad day for Northern Ontario. Despite the outcry from Northern Ontario, it has fallen upon deaf ears,” said Randy Hillier, PC Party Critic for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. “Dalton McGuinty has given away 42% of this province away to environmentalist friends in downtown Toronto. He’s stolen it, and Northerners didn’t get a penny in return.”
Bill 191 will ban all development in 42% of Ontario, an area of 225,000 km2. Because the bill makes no stipulations on which land is specifically off limits, the resulting uncertainty will undoubtedly play havoc with any new investments in Northern Ontario.
Widely derided by Northern Aboriginal, Industry and Municipal groups, the bill has been endorsed by Monte Hummel of the World Wildlife fund. In fact, the WWF was the only group consulted prior to the bill’s introduction.
“This is Dalton McGuinty’s idea of ‘balance’,” said Hillier. “It’s a devastating assault on the economy of the North at a time when it is already fragile. It’s proof that McGuinty has completely lost touch with those who elected him.”
Just the Facts
• Bill 191 earned Dalton McGuinty’s liberals the moniker “Canada’s Worst Government.”
• Under Dalton McGuinty’s watch, Northern Ontario has lost more than 60 timber mills and thousands of manufacturing and industrial jobs.
• Ontario has fallen from the world’s foremost mining jurisdiction to 20th place.
• Bill 191 will ban economic development in 42% of Ontario, 225 000 km2, an area the size of the United Kingdom.
• In June, the McGuinty Government cancelled Northern consultations on Bill 191.
• Bill 191 has been denounced by:
o The Ontario Chamber of Commerce
o The Assembly of First Nations
o The Anglican Church of Canada
o Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada
o Ontario Mining Association
o NAN First Nations
o The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce
o Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association
o Northern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce
o Federation of Northeastern Ontario Municipalities
o Numerous other northern groups
• Groups that were consulted prior to the introduction of Bill 191:
o World Wildlife Fund