New mines, new revenue for [Ontario] cities: Horwath – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 29, 2011)

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

“This is how (former Newfoundland premier) Danny Williams,
in fact Brian Tobin, even stood up for minerals and made
sure some of that processing was happening in their
jurisdiction. And I think that we can do that here in
Ontario.” (NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath)

If elected, the Ontario New Democrats promise to funnel taxes from new mines to the communities in which they are located.

As much as it would like to give a greater share of taxes from existing mines to their home communities, the NDP could not do it while working to balance the provincial budget by 2017-18, says Andrea Horwath.

The NDP wanted a policy on mines that would be “easily implementable,” said Horwath, and moves “immediately” toward sharing greater revenues from mining with municipalities.

Horwath spoke to The Sudbury Star via Skype on Wednesday afternoon from her campaign bus, while en route from Brampton to Hamilton. “We are facing, and everybody knows it, a bit of a challenge,” said Horwarth about the province’s $14-billion deficit.

“I would have liked to be able to change the existing mining taxes,” but it won’t be possible, she said. When asked if the New Democrats would return more mining revenue to communities when the budget is balanced, Horwath said the NDP would consider it.

“It’s something that we’re very, very aware of. I’ve heard it for two and a half years now as I’ve travelled around the North — from larger communities like Sudbury and smaller communities as well.”

Whether it’s mining taxes, or stumpage and water fees, “there’s all kinds of things we need to look at to give northern municipalities particularly more … financing to be able to grow their economies and grow their communities,” said Horwath.

Horwath talked up planks of her party’s platform that apply to all of Ontario and will make everyday life more affordable.

She repeated campaign promises to remove the HST from heating and hydro bills, and begin eliminating it from gasoline. That would benefit northern residents who are harder hit by harsh winters than other Ontarians.

In promising to set a weekly cap on gasoline prices, Horwath said she has “found an issue that northerners are quite supportive of.”

Many have driven from one community to another to find gasoline five cents a litre cheaper than the community in which they just filled up, she said.

” That’s not right. There should be a regional price and that should be consistent.”

Horwath spoke of her party’s plan to create good jobs in Ontario by ensuring that minerals mined in Ontario are processed here.

The NDP would amend the Ontario Mining Act to require ministerial signoff of any product leaving Ontario for processing. Currently, the act requires signoff only when material is leaving Canada.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: