Archive | Northern Ontario Politics

First Nation’s court victory sets precedent for equitable compensation – by John Woodside (Toronto Star – July 21, 2021)

https://www.thestar.com/

More than 90 years after the Lac Seul First Nation’s reserve land was flooded to build a hydroelectric dam, Chief Clifford Bull says his people may finally receive just compensation.

The impact of the dam on the Lac Seul First Nation, traditionally the home of the Obishikokaang Anishinaabeg, was severe. It destroyed the nation’s way of life and many people moved away, Bull says.

“When I talk about total devastation, I mean there were 80 homes that went under … our sacred grounds, campsites, burials were washed up and bones were exposed — skulls were exposed — and that continues to this very day,” he said. Continue Reading →

Province pours $7.9 million into forestry, mining in northeastern Ontario – by Colleen Romaniuk (Sudbury Star – July 19, 2021)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

The provincial government announced more than $7.9 million in funding on Monday to support the forestry and mining sectors in northeastern Ontario. The money will support 16 different projects and create and maintain 112 jobs in the Sudbury and Algoma districts.

The funding is being delivered through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and includes significant investments in the mining supply and service sector in Greater Sudbury.

“This is an important infusion of high-tech capacity in the supply chains of forestry and mining. Continue Reading →

The Long Saga of Arrested Development in Northern Ontario – by Livio Di Matteo (Northern Economist Blog – July 14, 2021)

https://northerneconomist.blogspot.com/

Ontario has suffered from slowing economic growth over the course of the 20th century but nowhere in the province has the problem been as severe as in northern Ontario.

From 1990 to 2005, total employment in Ontario grew 23 percent and real per capita GDP grew by 17 percent. However, even omitting the pandemic year, going from 2005 to 2019, Ontario’s total employment grew only 15 percent while real per capita GDP grew by 8 percent.

There is a similar trend of slowing employment growth after 2005 on a regional basis but some regions – especially the north – have fared worse than others. The most alarming picture comes from a glance at the overall employment growth picture from 1990 to 2019 (we need to omit 2020 because it is the pandemic year and makes things look even worse). Continue Reading →

North bouncing ‘back faster’ compared to other parts of Canada – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – June 15, 2021)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

While COVID-19 has rocked communities across Canada, many in Northern Ontario are faring better than elsewhere.

“As we cope with the challenges of the pandemic’s second and third waves, these impacts are becoming more regional in nature — a reflection of the vastness of this country and its diverse population,” said Anil Arora, chief statistician with Stats Canada, during a virtual presentation hosted by the Northern Policy Institute on Monday.

“Northern Ontario has not been hit as hard by the pandemic as my home province of Alberta, for example,” he said, adding the region has also seen “business activity bounce back faster” than in the rest of Ontario. Continue Reading →

‘We’ve got what the world needs and we don’t talk about it’ – by Andrew Autio (Sudbury Star – March 31, 2021)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

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. Continue Reading →

Ontario finance minister says budget shows ‘this government is there for the north,’ but not everyone agrees (CBC News Sudbury – March 24, 2021)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Ontario’s finance minister says it will take years for the province’s economy to recover from the pandemic. But Peter Bethlanfalvy says despite that his government has not forgotten northern Ontario.

“The headline for the north: We’re there for you. This government is there for the north,” he told CBC. “In Sudbury, we put in 256 new long-term care beds, we’re expanding broadband. Historic investment in broadband, the largest in the country.”

That is a $2.8 billion investment with the aim of having everyone in Ontario connected to strong internet service by 2025. “It is ambitious and it is enough,” Bethlanfalvy says. Continue Reading →

Why I love Thunder Bay, and you should get to know this city, too – by Thomas Kehoe (Globe and Mail – September 30, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

I write a love letter to the reviled. To one whose very name has become synonymous with racism, violence and corruption. Worse yet, I understand that many of these charges are valid and accurate depictions of character.

I write a love letter to the city of Thunder Bay in Northern Ontario. Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” This is a tough sale in Thunder Bay. Award-winning bestsellers have been written about the city’s plague of dead Indigenous teenagers.

The arrest of both the mayor and the chief of police have made national news (and inspired many Dukes of Hazzard jokes). More often than not, the city is the murder capital of Canada. All accurate. Guilty as charged. An accurate, yet incomplete, portrait. Continue Reading →

Hunter promises better deal for North – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – February 4, 2020)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Liberal leadership candidate releases her Northern Ontario platform

She may have been born in Jamaica and raised in the GTA, but Liberal leadership hopeful Mitzie Hunter has spent time in Northern communities, too, and wants to see the region prosper.

“Having a strong Northern Ontario makes Ontario stronger,” she told The Star on Monday. “Having a Northern understanding is very important for me, and it’s not just now that I’m in the race.”

As education minister in the Kathleen Wynne government, the Scarborough-Guildwood MPP visited the region on multiple occasions and introduced policies to benefit residents. Continue Reading →

How to build Ontario: The north needs roads – by Sean Marshall (TV Ontario – September 25, 2019)

https://www.tvo.org/

ANALYSIS: To boost the region’s economy, meet the challenges of climate change, and provide access to First Nations communities, experts say we need to invest in road infrastructure.

In January 2016, a bridge over the Nipigon River failed. Located roughly 100 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, it forms part of the Trans-Canada Highway — when it was closed after bolts snapped, causing decking to rise 60 centimetres, the highway’s east-west link was severed. “This is the one place in Canada where there is only one road, one bridge across the country,” said Nipigon mayor Richard Harvey.

The only alternative route was through the United States. Truck drivers were stranded in towns such as Greenstone, which issued a state of emergency until temporary repairs could be completed. (The cable-stayed bridge — Ontario’s first — is now complete and has separate spans for eastbound and westbound traffic.)

Across Canada, governments invest in road infrastructure to boost trade and tourism and to improve safety and travel times. In southern Ontario, major highway projects underway include the completion of Highway 407 through Durham Region, a new alignment of Highway 7 between Guelph and Kitchener, and the widening of Highway 400 between Vaughan and Barrie. But in northern Ontario, where the road network is sparse, highways are an essential lifeline. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Ten days on the road (in Northern Ontario) – by Charles Cirtwill (Northern Ontario Business – May 29, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Anyone thinking of making policy affecting Ontario’s Northern regions would be well served to get in a car and drive around the place for a few days.

Anyone thinking of making policy affecting Ontario’s Northern regions would be well served to get in a car and drive around the place for a few days, or even a few weeks, once every year or so.

Now that I think about it, the next time I get that phone call asking, “If you were premier/prime minister, what is the one thing you would do to help Northern Ontario?” that will be my answer: put the deputy ministers on a bus and drive them around the North for meetings at least once every two years.

Don’t fly them in; drive, and stop, regularly. Also, make sure the bus does not have free Wi-Fi – force them to depend on the cell coverage that the rest of us experience daily. Continue Reading →

Ontario North could become host to nuclear waste – by Ben Cohen (Sudbury Star – August 3, 2018)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Hornepayne, a community of 980 people about 680 kilometres northwest of Sudbury, is one of the five finalists to see who becomes home to a nuclear waste facility.

In 2011, the town entered a bid to become a repository for 5.2 million log-sized bundles of used nuclear fuel. They were joined by 21 other Canadian communities that have since been whittled down due to internal protest or geological unsuitability.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) of Canada’s plan is to take this used fuel, known as “high-level nuclear waste,” contain it in steel baskets stuffed into copper tubes and encased in clay, and place that in a Deep Geological Repository (DGR), a 500-metre deep hole reinforced with a series of barriers. This is where it will stay for the 400,000 years it remains radioactive. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Accent: Northern Ontario being strangled [Part 1 of 5] – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – June 2, 2018)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

On June 7, the people of Ontario will be going to the polls in one of the most pivotal elections in the province’s history. While Northern Ontario – north of the French and Mattawa rivers, as I have never recognized the Parry Sound and Muskoka ridings as being part of the North – encompasses roughly 90 per cent of the province’s land mass, its population has been steadily declining to slightly over five per cent of Ontario’s total.

Unfortunately, our impact on provincial policies is almost negligible.

A buck a beer, cheaper gas, tax breaks combined with unaffordable infrastructure and social commitments, twinning the trans-Canada in Northern Ontario, buying back Hydro One and jumping on a bulldozer to start building the road into the Ring of Fire are part of a bevy of mostly worthy but unsustainable promises Conservative Doug Ford, Liberal Kathleen Wynne and NDP Andrea Horwath have made.

However, I seldom hear any actual policy initiatives to grow the economy and create wealth so we can afford all these election initiatives and perhaps, just perhaps, put a little money on our provincial debt, which has more than doubled during the past 15 years under the McGuinty/Wynne Liberal era, from about $138 billion in 2003-04 to $325 billion today and growing. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Accent: Move 10,000 civil service jobs North [Part 3 of 5] – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – June 5, 2018)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Without a doubt, the provincial economy overall is doing great. Growth rates of 2.8 per cent in 2017 and a slightly lower rate of 2.4 per cent predicted for this year has allowed the Ontario to gain 335,000 new jobs and lowered unemployment to 5.5 per cent in March.

However, the vast majority of that prosperity is focused on the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). In fact, over the past decade, roughly 80 per cent of new jobs created in Ontario went to the GTA, 10 per cent to Ottawa and the rest of the province had to make due with the remaining 10 per cent.

Is it any wonder why the GTA is drowning in prosperity, with crowded subways, congested highways and an over-inflated housing market?

In the1980s, former Liberal premier David Peterson had an innovative vision of sharing the job wealth with the rest of the province as the government is a major employer. He transferred 1,600 civil service jobs from a number of ministries to Northern Ontario. Thousands of other jobs were also moved to various cities in southern Ontario like Kingston, Peterborough, Orillia and Guelph. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Accent: How do we pay for all of this? [Part 5 of 5] – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – June 6, 2018)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

The gulf between Northern Ontario’s needs and the ability of politicians and bureaucrats to address them has never been wider. There was time, so very long ago, when a northern politician like the legendary Leo Bernier could impress the premier to resolve the region’s many unique issues.

Those times are long gone and Northern Ontario’s MPPs seem to play second fiddle to a very powerful and media savvy environmental movement, who have no problems riding roughshod over the region’s needs or just don’t have the political clout at Queen’s Park to address their issues. The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is a very small ministry.

Half in jest, I often wonder if the North needs to establish an embassy somewhere adjacent to the legislature – the disconnection really is that bad.

When Canada hit the debt wall in the mid-1990s and global financial markets were basically calling our currency a “northern peso,” then Prime Minister Jean Chretien made the shockingly brave political choice to treat the voters like intelligent adults and talk honestly about the need to address the nation’s critical financial state. Continue Reading →

What Does Northern Ontario Want From Queen’s Park? – by Stan Sudol (RepublicOfMining.com – May 31, 2018)

Northern Ontario Being Strangled

On June 7th, the people of Ontario will be going to the polls in one of the most pivotal elections in the province’s history. While Northern Ontario – north of the French and Mattawa Rivers, as I have never recognized the Parry Sound and Muskoka ridings as being part of the North – encompasses roughly 90 per cent of the province’s land mass, its population has been steadily declining to slightly over five per cent of Ontario’s total.

Unfortunately, our impact on provincial policies is almost negligible.

A buck a beer, cheaper gas, tax breaks combined with unaffordable infrastructure and social commitments, twinning the trans-Canada in Northern Ontario, buying back Hydro One, and jumping on a bulldozer to start building the road into the Ring of Fire are part of a bevy of mostly worthy but unsustainable promises Conservative Doug Ford, Liberal Kathleen Wynne and NDP Andrea Horwath have made.

However, I seldom hear any actual policy initiatives to grow the economy and create wealth so we can afford all these election initiatives and perhaps, just perhaps put a little money on our provincial debt which has more than doubled during the past 15 years under the McGuinty/Wynne Liberal era from about $138 billion in 2003/04 to $325 billion currently and growing. By the way, this is the largest sub-national debt in the world and twice as large as California which has a population of almost 40 million. We are paying roughly $1 billion a month to service that debt. That will surely rise when interest rates, which are at historic lows, eventually start going up! Continue Reading →