Tories roll out Northern Ontario platform – Star Staff (Sudbury Star – July 15, 2011)

 The Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

A Progressive Conservative government would hold one cabinet meeting a year in Northern Ontario and fork over a portion of the taxes generated by new mines to northern municipalities.

A PC government would also let Northern Ontario’s towns and cities decide how they should develop and grow, the party’s candidate for Nickel Belt said Thursday.

“I’m hoping that every Northerner will read what the (Tim) Hudak government has planned for the future of the North,” Peroni said in a release.

“They will clearly see that changebook North is the result of listening to thousands of northerners in our Have Your Say Ontario survey, that it protects the Northern way of life and that it keeps wealth in the North.

Hudak was in Thunder Bay on Thursday to release changebook North. Other highlights include:

– encouraging development of the Ring of Fire, a significant mining discovery in northwestern Ontario;

– giving gas tax money to every Northern community, not just to one in six under Liberal Premier Dalton MGuinty;

– getting rid of the province’s mandatory smart meters for hydro, while introducing immediate relief for families’ energy bills;

– promising to review the controversial Metrolinx decision to hand a lucrative contract to refurbish GO Transit coaches to a Quebec-based company over North Bay’s Ontario Northland;

– scrapping Liberal laws the PCs say effectively bans new development in Northern Ontario, such as the Far North Act;

– preserving the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund; and

– working more closely with First Nations.

“We want Northern Ontario to become number 1 in mining and in forestry in Canada again and we will repeal any Liberal law that bans new development in Northern Ontario,” Peroni said. “Importantly, mining tax revenue from new mines and a portion of stumpage fees will stay in local communities and First Nation.”

Hudak said changebook North has three pillars: creating more jobs in the North; making the most of the North’s natural advantages; and building stronger communities.

He said the PCs are listening to what Northerners have to say. “Charting a new course to northern jobs and growth must not originate from Queen’s Park, but instead must rely on the input of Northern Ontario families and businesses themselves.

“The southern Ontario special interests, with their fantasy view of what Northern living really is, have far too much say over decisions that affect actual northern families. A Tim Hudak government will stand up to the special interests and deliver change that brings more jobs to northern communities that need them.”

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