Join Manitoba: Northwest Ontario would prosper by linking with our neighbour – by Karl Lehto (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – November 1, 2014)

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

1. We have three powerful cabinet ministers in Northwestern Ontario representing both federal and provincial governments — Greg Rickford, Mike Gravelle, and Bill Mauro — yet we are still floundering with indecision and with poorly planned decisions made for us in our capitals.

2. Ontario has a mysterious and stubborn resistance to interprovincial trade and co-operation, particularly with power from Manitoba and Quebec, yet the reasons are never explained to us.

3. We have a big problem: Toronto is just too far away and almost totally focused on southern Ontario with its millions of people and associated problems. Queen’s Park is broke, broken and struggling.

4. We have another big problem in the Northwest which affects each and every one of us. Cheap, clean and safe power is the critical economic engine that drives us all. Cost is presently spiralling totally out of control.

In 11 years irrational energy planning has tripled our power rates and we are billions of dollars worse off today. Manitoba has offered a great alternative which we ignore.

5. Historically, we in the Northwest have been treated as a hinterland with a bone occasionally thrown at us to keep us in line.

The new hospital and the medical school were so close to never being realized for political reasons. It was nothing short of a miracle (and local near-civil disobedience objection) that they were finally approved.

Good ideas are often ignored. Are you ready for this solution?

Join Manitoba!

Thunder Bay becomes the second biggest city in Manitoba with all the advantages of this status.

N.W.O. gets the advantage of the cheapest, cleanest, safest, most accessible source of power available in North America. Presently we pay the highest price in North America.

The “new” Manitoba will have direct access to Lake Superior and the St. Lawrence Seaway with all its potential.

Northwestern Ontario, as part of this new province, will stimulate the floundering mining potential of the Ring of Fire and many other mining and natural resource ventures.

We will have only some 636 kilometres of divided highway to deal with from Thunder Bay to the Manitoba border.
Only 700 kilometres separates Thunder Bay from our new provincial capital of Winnipeg.

I premise this idea on a new way of thinking about economic development that I will call “capitalism with a conscience.” Capitalism needs and must have the incentive for reasonable profit but NOT for profit from exploitation.

In the words of 19th-century American author Horace Greeley, “Go west young man, go west.”

Karl Lehto
Thunder Bay