Sudbury letter: Liberals fail the North: PC leader – by Patrick Brown (Sudbury Star – May 28, 2015)

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

Patrick Brown is the Ontario PC leader.

Re: New PC leader urged to speak up for Ring of Fire, May 24:

During my leadership campaign, I vowed to make Northern Ontario a priority. On Friday, one of my first trips as the new leader of the Ontario PC Party was meeting with the Northern community and visiting Ontario’s Ring of Fire.

Over the past 12 years, the Liberal government has ignored the value and potential of Northern Ontario. Just like her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, who said “we are not going succeed in Ontario by pulling stuff out of the ground”, Premier Kathleen Wynne has also shown her disregard of Northern Ontario by ensuring no progress has been made in developing the Ring of Fire.

This Liberal government is failing to unlock the full economic potential of the Ring of Fire and instead continues to blame the federal government, which is simply asking for a plan and is not about to write a blank cheque.

We should all remember that under a PC government in 2001, we were first in mining investment attractiveness in the world. Under Liberal leadership, our province has now plummeted to 23rd.

Northern Ontario deserves strong leadership and the Ring of Fire should be at the centre of any economic plan for Northern Ontario. To be successful, there first needs to be a commitment to working with business and local communities to build the necessary infrastructure, such as roads. Secondly, we need to stabilize our energy pricing, because you cannot develop the Ring of Fire with energy costs that are uncompetitive. Thirdly, we need to simplify the layers of burdensome red-tape that businesses currently have to deal with.

Instead, the Liberal priorities will ensure we do not achieve success in the Ring of Fire. They want to increase the costs of doing business through their payroll tax, cap-and-trade tax on everything and poorly planned sale of Hydro One. Meanwhile, their only achievement of note in the Ring of Fire was a development corporation that has only added to the bureaucracy and red-tape. These are not the policies the North has asked for, or deserve.

My caucus and I fully support the mining industry and understand that it provides stable, good paying jobs, and is the largest employer of aboriginal Ontarians.

Investing and developing the Ring of Fire is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that requires immediate attention.

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