The economic potential of northeastern Ontario is largely untapped according to a new think-tank organization focused on promoting the region’s most appealing qualities to the world. The Abitibi Institute held its official launch last week.
The policy-focused organization has four founding members: Tony Makuch, president and CEO of Kirkland Lake Gold, Timmins Mayor George Pirie, Robert Manseau, CEO of Commerce Management, and Gaetan Malette, a community consultant with Dumas Contracting.
Malette, the founding vice-president, lamented at how far the region’s forest industry has sunk over the past few decades. “The lack of effective policy essentially wiped out the pulp industry in Smooth Rock Falls, and the paper mill in Iroquois Falls,” he said.
“We have everything we need here. We have the economic engine to make things happen. What we need is to step up and advocate for ourselves.” Malette added that Kirkland Lake Gold provided the bulk of the foundational sponsorship.
Makuch will serve as founding chairman. He told the audience it is time to recognize just how great the North is. “It’s time that we get together and we see what we can do in terms of creating the value that can happen here.”
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