[Ontario] PCs: Get North going – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – October 22,2012)

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

Two Progressive Conservative MPPs from Northern Ontario — the only two — are banking on made-in-the- North policy to help their party win more seats in the next provincial election.

Parry SoundMuskoka MPP Norm Miller, the Tor ies’ Northern Development and Mines critic, was looking to people attending an Ontario PC Northern Conference on the weekend to offer suggestions “to get the North moving again.”

His party would love to have more representation in the North, said Miller. Half of his riding, from Severn River to French River, is located in Northern Ontario. “Good policy helps win seats,” Miller said before the start of the conference Saturday afternoon.

“We see the North as being a great place with great opportunity and it could be doing a lot better.” The 12-year veteran of provincial politics said the policies of Premier Dalton McGuinty “have really hurt the North.”

Miller slammed the Liberals’ Far North Act, saying it was an example of “Toronto-centric decision-making,” adding it panders to “very powerful special interest groups, mainly the environmental lobby.”

With a “sweep of a pen,” the act put half of the North “out of bounds for forestry,” said Miller.

He introduced a private member’s bill to rescind the act, but it was defeated by the Grits and the New Democrats, he said.

Miller said his party, led by Tim Hudak, has released a number of white papers that put forward “bold positive ideas that will stimulate discussion and be good for Ontario.”

Both he and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli slammed McGuinty, who resigned last week and prorogued the Legislature.

“They kind of lost control of their agenda,” said Miller of the contentious days leading up to McGuinty’s surprise announcement. “I think this is just a major channel changer.”

Fedeli, the party’s energy critic, said he intended to share with PC candidates and hopefuls attending the conference what happened at Queen’s Park before the premier resigned.

The former North Bay mayor and rookie MPP was going to advise delegates on how to attract media attention. Fedeli did that in spades last week in Toronto newspapers with front-page headlines on stories quoting him attacking the Grits for their “secret files.”

For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2012/10/22/pcs-get-north-going