The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
An industry insider, who did not wish to be identified, said he wouldn’t be paying
attention to Monday’s announcement because the amount of money pledged by the Liberals
– three days before it delivers a spring budget that could trigger an election –
Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha travelled to Thunder Bay for a Monday morning news conference at the Ring of Fire Secretariat to find out if what his Queen’s Park sources were telling him was true.
That Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle was to announce a provincial investment of up to $1 billion to develop infrastructure for the Ring of Fire, but only if the federal government matches it.
Mantha, the New Democrats’ mining critic, said figures ranging from $770 million to $1 billion were being bandied about as the amount the province was going to announce last week and, if they’re accurate, it’s good news.
Gravelle’s office sent a notice out Friday saying the minister would make “an important announcement about the Ring of Fire” in Thunder Bay, with Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro and Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti by his side.
Mantha wouldn’t thumb his nose at millions or $1 billion to develop the rich chromite deposits 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.
But he said he can’t imagine the federal government being prepared to make a sizable investment without obtaining answers to questions that opposition parties and industry leaders have been seeking from the provincial government for years. Questions such as how will the money be spent? What will it be spent on? Where will it be spent?
An industry insider, who did not wish to be identified, said he wouldn’t be paying attention to Monday’s announcement because the amount of money pledged by the Liberals — three days before it delivers a spring budget that could trigger an election — is irrelevant.
The bigger question is what is the provincial government’s overall plan for the Ring of Fire when it comes to infrastructure such as roads and hydroelectricity.
Gravelle told reporters March 27 after speaking to the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce that Premier Kathleen Wynne was committed to investing heavily in the Ring of Fire and that she was looking for that same level of commitment from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
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