Horwath doesn’t tip hand during Sudbury visit [Ring of Fire] – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – January 23, 2014)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Andrea Horwath won’t outright say she expects a spring election. But her New Democratic Party is about to start consultations with Ontarians from which the party will take its cues about whether to support another Liberal budget.

Before the last two Liberal minority government budgets, the NDP held town hall meetings and telephone town halls, conducted online surveys, while MPPs held meetings with constituents to get feedback on what they wanted from government in a budget.

“The people of Ontario chose a minority government,” Horwath said Wednesday in Sudbury. “We’ve done everything we could to make that government deliver for them.” Her party will seek that feedback again to inform its decision-making around the next budget process, expected shortly after the Legislature resumes Feb. 18.

Horwath was in Sudbury to meet with Sudbury riding candidate Joe Cimino and attend a fundraiser. While here, she toured Stack Brewery on Kelly Lake Road, where she said it was heartening to see entrepreneurs like owner Shawn Mailloux helping to diversify Sudbury’s economy.

When reporters asked Horwath about the likelihood of a spring election, which wold be triggered if her party doesn’t support Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government, Horwath said she takes seriously the responsibility Ontarians have given her.

She and her MPPs have been working hard during the break in the Legislature to talk with people about whether promises Liberals made in the last budget have made a difference for them.

“Are they seeing shorter wait times for home care? Are they seeing their auto insurance rates go down? Are they getting a sense that young people are getting jobs and having opportunity?” asked Horwath.

Ontarians are disappointed those promises weren’t kept, and they’re still angry about money wasted on relocating two gas plants in the Greater Toronto Area and the high cost of electricity, she charged.

When asked about the Ring of Fire, Horwath said the Liberals owe it to Ontarians to “come clean on exactly what the plan is” to establish a development corporation for business, government and industry to develop the chromite deposits.

She also challenged the Liberals to “show some real plan so that people can have confidence we will actually be able to realize the opportunity the Ring of Fire presents to Ontario.”

Horwath criticized the Liberals for making announcements and cutting ribbons on projects such as Cliffs Natural Resources plan to build a $1.8-billion ferrochrome processing plant north of Capreol, but not doing the “behind-the-scenes work to (keep) that Cliffs promise alive.”

When asked how her government would handle mining development differently, Horwath said it would take its cues from other jurisdictions such as Quebec that have been more successful in developing mining projects.

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