First Nations can’t do worse than Queen’s Park – by John R. Hunt (North Bay Nugget – March 15, 2013)

What is Bob Rae cooking up in the political kitchen? The experts in Ottawa may know. Ottawa knows everything but very little about Northern Ontario. What Rae is doing or reported to be doing will likely have a profound impact upon the North country.

I have found it very difficult to like him. When he was the NDP premier of Ontario he sent a pet hatchet man to my neck of the woods supposedly to save money. This socialist paragon closed the New Liskeard agricultural college, closed the Temiskaming Testing Laboratory in Cobalt and euthanized plans to locate 200 civil servants at Haileybury.

As first responder to the federal Liberals’ near death, he has applied expert political first aid. Soon he may make the Trudeau coronation almost respectable.

It is reported that at least one First Nations’ chief wants Rae to advise or consult on the best way for First Nations to get a decent piece of the pie when the Ring of Fire mining area is developed.

It is an outrageous thought but the native groups and Bob Rae may plan better than Ontario has in the past. I remember when Temagami had three sawmills and a copper mine nearby. Then came the Sherman mine at Temagami and its sister the Adams mine near Kirkland Lake. Now they have all gone.

I experienced the last vestiges of the Cobalt silver boom and watched this once great town wither away. Kirkland Lake was saved when the federal government guaranteed $35.00 an ounce for gold. The gold prices have gone crazy but the new boom will not last forever.

Elliot Lake’s uranium mines were largely developed by Cobalt’s mining men. The mines are now dead like most of the men who found them.

It is much the same story at Timmins where Ontario’s brutal hydro prices have closed the major refinery.

Perhaps it is time for First Nations’ folk to show Ontario how to plan for the future. They hope for sustainable development,long-term jobs and prosperity for their children and grand-children.

Think a little. The First Nations will find it very difficult to do much worse than Ontario has in the past.

For the original version of this article, please go to the North Bay Nugget website: