Northern leaders keep up ONTC fight – by Kyle Gennings (Timmins Daily Press – November 21, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – The fight continues for the ONTC.

Kapuskasing Mayor and Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) president Al Spacek spent Monday in Toronto meeting with Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci, fighting for a game changer that never came.

“We reiterated our concerns about the lack of information and transparency about the ongoing divestiture process,” he said. “I also communicated to him and his senior staff that we are hearing the same concerns from industry, a lot of time has gone by now and we still don’t have a comfort level with what the process is and where they are at with it.”

This lack of transparency regarding the sale has been a concern from the outset of the issue. Despite numerous pleas from FONOM representatives, Spacek said Bartolucci and his staff, along with the provincial cabinet, have not been forthcoming with information.

“His response continues to be the same, the divestiture is going ahead and did not directly address our concerns about transparency,” said Spacek. “Our reaction with this government has been one of much legislation and policy that has been very detrimental to the North.

“That legislation and policy was developed without the consultation of the people most effected by it, Northerners.”

This lack of consideration of the ruling Liberals has only salted the wound opened by scorched earth decisions like the ONTC divestiture and pending closure of 10 provincial parks.

For Spacek, this decision making reeks of specialized southern interests and favouritism.

“In fact, these decisions were made under much pressure from special interest groups in the south,” he said. “I wish I could say that I made progress on Monday. We received a commitment from the Minister to contact industry and provide them some assurances that their concerns will be addressed in this process.”

Spacek said that over the past months, industries impacted by the ONTC decision banded together to form an informal working group to address and discuss the detrimental effects of the divestiture.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: