Lobby effort vital to growth in North – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – August 28, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – For several years, there has been an ongoing effort by municipal leaders to lobby Queen’s Park on Northern Ontario issues.

The charge has been led in part by Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren and Kapuskasing Mayor Al Spacek. Through organizations like the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM), Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) and the Northern Ontario Large Urban Mayors (NOLUM), they have met with provincial cabinet ministers on numerous occasions.

They have attempted to get Northern leaders to speak with one voice on key issues such as the divestiture of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, regional infrastructure needs, and potential closure of local provincial parks.

But how effective is this process? To answer that question, we went straight to the horse’s mouth. Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle has discussed these issues and many others, several times with the Northern lobby groups.

During an editorial board session at The Daily Press on Tuesday, he said such efforts allow the provincial government to clearly hear Northern concerns. “I think it is a very effective way for us to communicate,” Gravelle said. “I’ve built up some extraordinary positive relationships with Northern mayors in particular.”

He made it clear the North will not get everything it wants.

“It does not mean we always agree. It does not mean they always support the approach we take on issues,” Gravelle said. “That close relationship helps us work together in a far more co-operative way and allows them to advocate for the issues that matter to them. “

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.timminspress.com/2013/08/27/lobby-effort-vital-to-growth-in-north