Way ahead for North is east or west of us – by Karl Lehto (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – December 7, 2013)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

Two articles in the past few days in this newspaper and a Sunday morning Global Television clip concerning the Ring of Fire are in serious need of comment:

1. The Nov. 30 Viewpoint, NWO Prime For Manitoba Power, could be the surprising game changer for Northern Ontario and the entire province.

For years, many have advocated the possibility of importing cheap, green hydroelectric power from Manitoba to our region but were met with resistance due mainly to the political inter-provincial restrictions, some of them greater than international restrictions between Ontario and the United States. And, more recently, others stated Manitoba had no more excess energy to export.

Well, apparently former federal minister of state for transport, Steven Fletcher of Manitoba begs to differ. He claims the real possibility now exists for 1,000 megawatts and up to 6,000 megawatts will be available for export to Ontario or Saskatchewan with the future completion of the Nelson River hydroelectric projects .

This enormous power source is only some 600 kilometres away from the Ring of Fire and many First Nation communities currently using very expensive diesel generators could benefit from it.

2. In Slick Site Won’t Cut It (CJ, Dec. 1) MPP Peter Tabuns suggests importing cheap power from Quebec instead of building more transmission lines from southern Ontario.

If we have two Canadian provinces, Manitoba and Quebec, with excess clean, green hydro-electric power available to us in both Northwestern and Eastern Ontario what exactly are we waiting for? Why is this not the most practical, most cost-effective, viable, clean and green, all-Canadian solution available? Someone please correct me if I am wrong!

Let’s solve the energy problem first and get our energy costs back to a competitive level. Then we can focus on the best interests of all concerned with road or rail options in the Ring of Fire and surrounding areas. And, while we are at it, take back public control of our power generation as our present privatization model has only raised our public energy costs to astronomical levels with the promise of even higher costs forthcoming.

3. Global Television recently did a street survey in Toronto randomly asking people what they knew of The Ring of Fire. Not one person had ever heard of it even after hinting Northwestern Ontario as a clue. Johnny Cash came to mind from most people and even “hemorrhoids” was a response.

Toronto, where our Ring of Fire decisions are to be made for us, is just too far away and the project is not on the radar of the millions who live there. Somehow we must gain at least some measure of control over our own destiny. Unfortunately, the trump card to our vast natural resources is held by others not knowing how the game should be played.




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