The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Reductions in government red tape and bureaucracy are amongst the keys to prosperity for Northern Ontario, said Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak during a recent visit to Sudbury.
Hudak said there 300,000 rules and regulations in Ontario that make it more difficult for the private sector to prosper. His party has proposed to cut those regulations by at least a third if he is elected premier.
Hudak offered his prescription for the province’s ills, and Northern Ontario’s in particular, during a town hall meeting with Conservative supporters at College Boreal on Saturday, April 27.
He said he wants to remove barriers to development in the north and singled out the Far North Act as a prime target to be abolished. “The Far North Act is nothing but a massive regulatory wall that it is going to bring development in the far north to a screeching halt,” Hudak said.
The act protects around 225,000 square kilometres – or around 21% of Ontario’s land mass – of boreal forest from development. The Liberal government passed the Far North Act in 2010, and Hudak said it has impeded the mining and forestry sectors.
The Conservative leader also said the Liberal government has not been fast enough to develop the Ring of Fire. “It’s a once in a century opportunity,” he said. “Just like we developed the Sudbury basin, which had extraordinary benefits for all of Canada, the next wave is going to be the Ring of Fire.”
Hudak said low hydro costs will be key to properly develop the Ring of Fire and make the mining sector more profitable. “Energy is one of the principle costs of doing business,” Hudak said. “Sadly, the mishandling of the energy file has been one of the reasons we have lost 300,000 jobs in manufacturing and in the resource sector, where energy costs are among the highest.”
He said a Progressive Conservative government would end the feed-in tariff program the province has used to subsidize wind and solar energy development. Instead, he said his government would focus on the “traditional workhorses” of hydro and nuclear power.
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