Tim Hudak’s Bad Idea – Toronto Star August 16, 2010 Editorial Comment on PC Leader Tim Hudak’s Promise to Repeal Far North Act

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This editorial was originally published on August 16, 2010.

Toronto Star Editorial: Trolling for votes in northern Ontario last week, provincial Conservative Leader Tim Hudak promised to repeal the Far North Act if he is elected. He called it a “bad bill.”

Actually, repealing it is a bad idea.

The Far North Act, which is expected to be passed by the Legislature this fall, is an attempt by the Liberal government to reconcile three competing interests in our north: the environment, the resource industries and the First Nations.

These interests often come into conflict, with ugly stand-offs resulting, such as the dispute between Platinex, a mining company, and the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation. KI protesters were jailed, multiple law suits were filed, and Platinex eventually abandoned its claim in return for a $5 million payment from the government.

As Hudak noted, the proposed Far North Act has been criticized by all sides. But that may simply be a sign that the Liberal government has struck the right balance. Certainly the act requires some improvements, but it can be amended in committee this fall.

Hudak also said that Premier Dalton McGuinty wants to turn northern Ontario into “one giant park.” This is half true, as 50 per cent of the region would be protected from development under the legislation. But some 225,000 square kilometers — an area the size of Great Britain — would remain open for business. That is just the sort of compromise that Ontarians expect their government to make.