Locked and loaded: Chamber lobbies for Ring of Fire – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 27, 2016)


Lobbyists for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce have a powerful new tool to use to persuade the Government of Canada that developing the Ring of Fire should be high on the national agenda.

A resolution regarding the vast chromite deposits, submitted by the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, received 94.9 per cent support from more than 400 delegates at the Canadian chamber’s annual general meeting this month.

The resolution calls on the federal government to treat the Ring of Fire as a national priority, to work with governments, industry and community partners to forge agreements and build capacity with indigenous peoples, and to actively promote the Ring globally as a trade and investment opportunity.

Tracy Nutt, chair of the board of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, attended the Canadian meeting along with Sudbury chamber president and chief executive officer Debbi Nicholson, chamber policy and public relations manager Joyce Mankarios and chamber vice-chair Michael MacNamara.

“We had a bit of work to do to get there,” said Nutt of her team’s efforts to convince about 150 Alberta business people the Ring of Fire is more than a local project.

“Alberta was very clear, right from the get-go, they found it far too regional and that it only was going to benefit Northern Ontario and they would not be supporting it,” said Nutt this week.

Her group had a few minutes to make its case to the Alberta caucus that the Ring of Fire is “not unlike the oil sands or the forestry industry in B.C.,” said Nutt. While the minerals are in the ground in Northern Ontario, “we feel it has the potential to have a vast national impact.”

With a little tweaking of the language of the resolution, Albertans were ready to endorse it.

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