Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement that the province will move ahead with building roads into the Ring of Fire is earning jeers from Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. Fedeli expressed frustration over the lack of concern for the North and empty promises over the last 10 years following Wynne’s announcement Monday.
“It’s simply election talk. She’s had 10 years to do something and now a few months before an election she’s making an announcement.” He said Wynne made a similar promise in 2014, but nothing was ever done.
“There’s actually been three funding announcements in support of the Ring of Fire and yet again, nothing has been done,” Fedeli said. “The latest was in the 2017 budget where there was no mention of the Ring of Fire, so where’s this funding coming from?”
Fedeli, who has travelled to the Ring of Fire region several times, said in 2011 there were 250 men and women working in the area. “Today there are six people left. Those six people are the caretakers who are there to simply protect the investment. It’s sad to watch it dwindle to nothing.”
He said companies have spent several hundreds of millions of dollars on the project, but they’ve since left and given up hope. The provincial government has been talking with the chiefs of the Matawa First Nations for years, since it pledged $1 billion in 2014 to fund infrastructure into the chromite-rich area.
The premier’s announcement in Thunder Bay comes three months after she told nine First Nations in the region she wanted to see progress in weeks, not months, on discussions about the roads or she would move to bilateral talks with individual communities.
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