Developing ‘Ring’ a priority, Wynne says in Sudbury – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – May 28, 2014)

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

Should she be elected, Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne won’t consider her premiership a success unless her government achieves significant progress in developing the Ring of Fire.

That’s how important developing the rich chromite deposits in the area 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay is to her party, Wynne told reporters during a campaign swing through Sudbury on Tuesday afternoon.

Wynne’s government promised $1 billion in its failed May budget for infrastructure for the Ring of Fire and has included that figure in is election platform. And it’s promising to establish the development corporation to decide upon that infrastructure within 60 days of forming a government.

That’s despite the fact her Liberal government announced the creation of the development corporation last November and in February appointed consulting firm Deloitte LLP to help set up the corporation.

When asked why no progress was made during her term in government to get the “devco” operating, Wynne pointed to progress made regarding the Ring of Fire in recent months.

Wynne spoke to reporters after touring the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology on Maley Drive.

Wynne cited the signing by the province of a regional framework agreement with the Matawa Council of nine first nations, “an historic agreement that will allow the development corporation to go ahead,” said Wynne.

That framework had to be in place before the development corporation could go ahead, she said.

The province now needs to bring first nations, government, businesses and the federal government together to make important infrastructure decisions, said Wynne.

While the $1 billion commitment from the province isn’t contingent upon matching federal funding, she repeated how Ontario wants to have the Conservative government of Stephen Harper at the table.

Without or without federal funding, “we are going to move ahead,” said Wynne.

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