(QUEEN’S PARK) Today, the McGuinty Government will call Bill 191 for passage, despite an outcry of opposition from Industry, First Nations, and Northern residents. Dalton McGuinty, who promised First Nations that he would not pass the bill without their consent, has instead cancelled all northern consultations and moved forward on a bill which will see 50% of the land north of the 51st parallel, an area the size of the United Kingdom, cut off from any economic development.
“This bill is a travesty. Dalton McGuinty has told Northerners that he knows better than them what they should be doing on their land,” said Randy Hillier, PC Party Critic for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. “This government has ignored opposition from all Northerners, just to appease their southern Ontario special-interest friends.”
“Despite his promises of a ‘new relationship’ with First Nations, Dalton McGuinty has stabbed them in the back. He’s doomed them to generational poverty. How can they thrive when they are forbidden from participating in the economy?” said Hillier. “Northern Ontario is rich in resources. It has Chromite, Diamonds, Gold. Why is he putting all those resources off-limits for some of Ontario’s poorest citizens?”
The Ring of Fire, a mining project which McGuinty touted in his Throne Speech, lies within Bill 191’s exclusion zone. The McGuinty Liberals have thus far refused to comment on how mining in this region is expected to proceed after the passage of their bill.
“Every single day that we delayed this bill was a day that we bought for Northern Ontario families,” said Hillier. “And when we’re elected one year from now, we pledge to undo the damage that Dalton McGuinty is doing.”
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 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 The Anglican Church of Canada
o Numerous other northern groups
• Groups that were consulted prior to the introduction of Bill 191:
o World Wildlife Fund