New PC leader [Patrick Brown] urged to speak up for Ring of Fire – by Staff (Sudbury Star – May 25, 2015)

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

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle is calling on the new leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives to stand up to the Harper government and demand federal funding for the Ring of Fire.

Patrick Brown is the former Barrie Conservative MP who won the provincial PC leadership earlier this month. “Mr. Brown is no longer part of the federal Conservative caucus and has the opportunity to speak freely,” said Gravelle. “I hope he uses this as a chance to stand up for the North.”

Gravelle said the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne has committed $1 billion to develop the Ring of Fire and reached a regional framework agreement with the chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council.

“Meanwhile, the federal government hasn’t stepped up to the plate,” said Gravelle. The Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP said Brown recognized the importance of the Ring of Fire in a leadership debate in Sudbury on Nov. 24, 2014.

Gravelle said Brown told an audience he believes there’s tremendous opportunity “for our party to highlight a credible plan for how we’re going to make sure … the Ring of Fore develops, and it’s going to be extremely beneficial to all Ontario, but especially Northern Ontario.”

The PC leadership candidate also said at that debate: “Would you trust Kathleen Wynne’s government with a billion dollars and no plan? Not a single project specified? Not a chance.”

Gravelle said Brown is now free of the grip of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and has a responsibility to speak up for Ontario.

“We’ll see who Mr. Brown chooses to represent, Northern Ontarians or his friends in Ottawa,” said Gravelle.

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