The Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
NDP MPP France Gelinas is standing by her party’s plan to keep Ontario’s resources in the province for processing, despite the Liberal claim it would put hundreds of well-paying jobs at risk in Sudbury.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrew Horwath announced earlier this month that if her party is elected in October, it would amend the Mining Act so resources mined in Ontario cannot be exported if they can be processed in Ontario. ” The North’s natural resources should be creating jobs in the North,” Horwath stated.
“Instead of letting companies take our resources and run, we can keep good value-added jobs and industry in northern communities.” Sudbury’s Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci, however, said Monday the policy would mean job losses for Sudburians.
” This is just a policy that would ensure that other countries would close their borders to Canada and … most immediately would result in the loss of jobs in Sudbury,” he said.
“Currently, Ontario processes minerals from four provinces, the U.S., and even Peru, Chile, and Argentina. The NDP plan would close the province’s doors to these investments,” Bartolucci said.
“If we close our doors, these jurisdictions will certainly close theirs — permanently killing good paying refinery jobs across Northern Ontario.”
Refineries such as Cameco, Imperial Smelting and Refining Co. of Canada, Johnson Matthey Ltd. and Vale process material from outside of Ontario, the Liberals state.
Bartolucci said Xstrata Nickel would be forced to close down and lay off hundreds of workers since it receives 70% of smelting material from Quebec, the U.S. and Australia.
” That would result in the immediate loss in excess of 300 jobs,” Bartolucci said. “If I was a member of CAW Mine Mill (the union that represents workers at Xstrata in Sudbury) I would be concerned with this type of policy.”
Iyo Grenon, senior communications specialist at Xstrata Nickel in Sudbury, would not comment on the NDP plan or the Liberal response.
“It’s not appropriate for us to comment on politics,” Grenon said.
Vale officials could not be reached for comment.
The NDP website states that “a New Democratic government will amend the Mining Act so resources mined in Ontario cannot be exported if they can be processed in Ontario.”
Gelinas said, however, the NDP plan is not to halt the exchange of minerals that already exists.
“We are the NDP. We fight for workers. We don’t kill jobs,” she said.
For example, she said De Beers processes about 10% of its diamonds in Canada while the rest is processed outside the country.
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