Ontario needs Northern development, but the way it plays its major pieces is stuck in the 20th century.
Greg Rickford, minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, emphasized investing in people and technologies. For Northern development, that means investing in people and technologies in the North.
Last month I asked what to ask for if Premier Doug Ford gives us just three wishes. For wish one, I suggested that we lobby for a cross-laminated timber industry. For wish two, I suggest we ask for brains. I’m not saying we don’t have brains. I’m suggesting the research and educational facilities that support our Northern industries should be located in the North.
Right now, the province takes tax money from Northern Ontario taxes and buys brains for universities in the south. For example, of the three Ontario universities offering mining engineering programming – Laurentian, Queen’s and Toronto – two are in southern universities, hundreds of kilometres from where the mining happens.
All three are ranked globally behind UBC and McGill. Ontario, one of the leading mining jurisdictions in the world, supports three third-rate mining engineering programs.
The province would be smarter (and richer) if it concentrated resources on one world-class institution. Where should it go? Where the mining is happening. Both the southern programs are fading and Laurentian is ascendant. Mr. Rickford should be telling Merrilee Fullerton, minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, that the southern programs should be transferred to Laurentian in Northern Ontario where the mines are.
For the rest of this column: https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/columns/opinion-three-wishes-for-the-north-number-two-1264071