Northern [Ontario] leaders are determined to be heard – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – September 27, 2011)

 The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at

“The North has the potential to be one of the wealthiest
regions in the world. Yet we are not permitted to realize
the full benefits of our natural resources — while the
federal and provincial government rake in big time tax
revenues. (Wayne Snider – Timmins Daily Press)

Tired of being ignored by provincial politicians

Municipal leaders in Northeastern Ontario are hungry for political change at the provincial level. But the change they desire is over and above what happens in the Oct. 6 election.

They want the North to be taken seriously in Queen’s Park. It is a tall order, given the fact that only 11 of the 107 seats in the provincial legislature are based in Northern ridings. In terms of voting support, which is what political parties really care about, the North isn’t a significant player at the provincial level.

That is why policies — such as the Far North Act and the Endangered Species Act — get pushed through despite vocal protests from Northern municipalities. Both of these acts will limit economic growth in the North.

In the case of the Endangered Species Act, specifically the protection of caribou habitat in areas where the animals haven’t been seen for 60-80 years, it will mean economic regression for the forest industry.

As more and more wood fibre gets protected for the non-existent animals, jobs will be lost.

News flash: Forestry firms actually need wood to supply mills.

That’s why the industry has issued a red alert in Ontario, their livelihoods are in danger.

The legislation fits in with the lifestyle perspective of southern Ontario residents — save cute, cuddly forest friends from the clutches of industry — because environmental groups have effectively lobbied and marketed their propaganda.

The impact on the North doesn’t seem to matter, simply because of the numbers game.

We don’t have enough seats up for grabs to make or break a government.

One of the reasons the North doesn’t have a voice at Queen’s Park is the majority of Ontarians have no idea how badly legislation is impacting our region.

Municipal leaders are determined to change the situation.

Members of the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) are going to get active in the lobbyist game.

They have formed a special sub-committee and by January, they will have a game plan established for a full-time lobby effort.

“Our way of life is under threat,” Cochrane Mayor Peter Politics said at Saturday’s NEOMA meeting held in his community.

“Our existence has never been more threatened than it is right now.

“Our next step is to start marketing and lobbying our way of life to the eight million people in Southern Ontario. We (Northern Ontario) are not just a backdrop. We’re entitled to our own values and way of life.”

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