Nothing for the North [Ontario] – by Mark Prior (Timmins Daily Press – March 27, 2012)

Northern leaders have little good to say about the provincial budget

Still stinging from the announcement that Ontario Northland will be axed, political leaders were hoping to hear some good news for the North in Tuesday’s provincial government. They didn’t get it. Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren wasn’t impressed with the latest budget.

“Personally, I’m very disappointed,” Laughren said. “There doesn’t appear to be anything in there to have an affect on the municipalities, but I look at it from a Northern Ontario perspective. “There is so much opportunity for growth and mining, yet the provincial government can’t get their act together to make that happen.”

Laughren expressed frustration. He doesn’t believe the government is taking advantage of opportunities available with resource-based industries. Plus, the North is still in shock with the recent decision to divest the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.

“There are so much opportunities here above and beyond the Ring of Fire,” he said. “A minority should be the best government and in previous years the governing government would have went around Northern Ontario and asked people what should and shouldn’t be in the budget.

“This didn’t happen this time around, so that is a big disrespect to people of Northern Ontario.

“The way I see it, the government continues to not look at what Northern Ontario can do for the rest of the province. It’s disrespectful.”

MPP Gilles Bisson (NDP — Timmins-James Bay) wasn’t impressed either.

“I think there’s a missed opportunity here and I think the government had missed out on supporting Northern Ontario,” he said.

“Why didn’t the government put something in the budget that says, ‘We are going to do something in order to facilitate the value of the North?’

“The ONTC can be a valuable piece of the infrastructure. When it comes to revenue with the ONTC, generally there seems to be a lack of decisions here in terms of what their plans are to build Northern Ontario.”
For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: