Conservative leadership hopeful calls for federal support for Ring of Fire – by Matt Vis ( – April 20, 2017)

Federal leadership candidate Erin O’Toole visits Thunder Bay, calls on Ottawa to make development of Ring of Fire a priority.

THUNDER BAY – Erin O’Toole views the Ring of Fire as a project of national significance that needs to receive more attention from Ottawa.

Visiting Thunder Bay on Wednesday, the federal Conservative leadership candidate said developing the potentially lucrative Northern Ontario mineral deposits would be a priority if he were to lead the country. “Infrastructure should not just be subways in a couple of cities in the country,” O’Toole said.

“This is what the federal government should do with infrastructure funding. It’s not just about transit in a few parts of the country. If we can help access jobs, resources, opportunity, that’s where the federal government has a role in roads, access to resources and intertie of electricity transmission. There’s a whole range of things we can do to make this possible.”

O’Toole is one of 14 candidates in a crowded leadership field vying to replace former prime minister Stephen Harper. The race includes former Harper cabinet ministers Lisa Raitt, Maxime Bernier and Kellie Leitch in addition to high-profile political newcomer Kevin O’Leary.

When asked about lack of progress on the Ring of Fire during the time former federal Conservative government was in power, O’Toole said former Kenora MP Greg Rickford was a proponent of the project and pointed the finger at the Ontario Liberals.

“All we needed to do was see a plan from the provincial government on where the infrastructure investment would go,” O’Toole said. “The federal government has a role to make sure these projects prioritize things to make sure we get these resources out of the ground and upgrade them here in Northern Ontario as well.”

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