After a helicopter tour of the Ring of Fire, Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown met with supporters at the Discovery North Bay Museum early Friday evening.
Brown told reporters, “I wanted to make my first trip as the Ontario PC leader to Northern Ontario to show it’s a priority for me.” Brown toured a parcel of the Ring of Fire with representatives of NORONT Resources and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli.
Brown is calling for the Ring of Fire to be at the centre of any economic plan for Northern Ontario. Brown denounced the Liberal government for their inaction. “Talk is cheap. There hasn’t been a single application. There hasn’t been a foot of road built and there hasn’t been a foot of rail built.”
“I just feel we’ve let down this opportunity. It is tremendously fortunate for Ontario to have resources like that, whether it’s the chromite or the nickel. Seeing the tests, and seeing the base camp reminds me sort of like a new frontier. This is an opportunity in North Ontario that we have to forge.”
Brown says there has to be an easing of red tape, energy costs have to come down and there must be a plan for transportation.
“My plan is to make sure that transportation corridors are built. Infrastructure investment must be linked to the resources with the ability to get the product to the marketplace.”
Brown says that he’d be willing to make a commitment to have some type of stability in energy prices. He called the current situation uncompetitive.
Brown says he is frustrated with mining companies leaving the Ring of Fire. “We’ve driven investment away. I’m prepared to expedite the permitting.”
Brown added that talks with First Nations have been going very well. “Consultation is key with the First Nations. The Ring of Fire has to have benefits for the communities that are affected by it. That’s not the roadblock. It’s infrastructure and energy.”
Brown told the crowd that Fedeli is a star in caucus with a passion for getting the energy situation under control.
The Ontario PC leader shared that his father grew up in North Bay and that he received his driver’s license in our city and that he will be back, often.
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