Archive | Northern Ontario Politics

‘The power of the north actually declined’: Ontario’s newest ridings in the north bring some election hope amid harsh realities – by Wency Leung (Globe and Mail – May 21, 2018)

From his office window, Chief Paul Burke can see the vast, clear sky and the ice breaking up across the Severn River. On a May afternoon, it is -3 degrees Celsius outside and the ground is clear of snow. Many of Mr. Burke’s community members are out on the land, hunting caribou and harvesting geese that are migrating north.

Mr. Burke has ambitious plans for his remote northern Ontario community of Fort Severn, located near the edge of Hudson Bay. He is anticipating the completion this fall of a 300-kW solar farm to reduce residents’ dependence on diesel and firewood, he wants to encourage mineral and gas exploration in the area, and he hopes to develop a tourism industry that draws visitors to see the plentiful polar bears that spend their time on land between mid-July and December.

His vision for this fly-in community has been independent of input from Queen’s Park. In fact, he says, in the two years he has been chief, he has never had any interaction with his MPP, nor any elected provincial official. “There’s never any presence here from anyone,” Mr. Burke says. “You never hear from them. You never hear of them either.” Continue Reading →

Playing politics with resource revenue sharing – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 17, 2018)

Northwestern Ontario municipal leader wants mining, forestry benefits deal for all Northern communities

Resource revenue sharing is on the minds of Ontario’s three provincial leadership hopefuls as they roll through Northern Ontario during the election. Allowing First Nations to benefit from mining and forestry operations on their traditional land has been a contentious and unresolved issue for many years.

The Wynne Liberal government revealed a potential landmark deal – pending their re-election – by announcing that agreements had been signed with three First Nations organizations, representing 32 communities across the North.

Lauding the deals as “the first of their kind,” the Liberals said the partnering First Nations will receive 45 per cent of government revenues from forestry stumpage, 40 per cent of the annual mining tax and royalties from active mines, and 45 per cent from future mines in the areas covered by the agreements. Continue Reading →

NDP comes under fire for ‘anti-mining’ candidate – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – May 12, 2018)

TIMMINS – Timmins Mayor Steve Black says he’s disappointed the Ontario New Democrats have a candidate running in a Southern Ontario riding who has repeatedly questioned the economic importance of the Ring of Fire.

“It’s disappointing to hear that someone may not believe in the value of that project when it’s all most of Northern Ontario has been talking about economically for the past 10 years,” said Black, while attending the opening of Yvan Génier’s campaign office in Timmins Friday. Génier is the Timmins riding candidate for the Progressive Conservatives — the same party Black ran for in 2014.

The NDP candidate Black made reference to is Ramsey Hart, who is running in Lanark-Frontenac and Kingston. Hart used to work for Mining Watch Canada, a non-profit group that describes its mission as ensuring that mineral development worldwide is “consistent with the goals of sustainable communities and ecological health.” Continue Reading →

Wynne defends Ring of Fire progress as Ford touts ‘gold mine of minerals’ in debate on Northern Ontario issues – by Carl Meyer (National Observer – May 11, 2018)

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader is promising a no-holds-barred approach to mining development in the province’s north, as his Liberal and NDP election campaign rivals caution against ignoring northern communities and destroying the environment.

Doug Ford said at a leaders’ debate on Friday that he would push hard for mining in Northern Ontario, home to the Ring of Fire. The Ring is an area in the James Bay lowlands that is rich in minerals, but lacks infrastructure and is surrounded by sensitive ecological areas and First Nations.

“All we’ve heard is talk, talk, talk, no action,” Ford said during the debate on northern issues in Parry Sound, Ont. on May 11. “We’re going to go in there and start mining.” As well as suggesting the Liberal government has been slow in getting development going, Ford took aim at the New Democratic Party candidate for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, Ramsey Hart, a former researcher and advocate with Mining Watch Canada, repeatedly labeling him an “extremist environmental activist” or a variation of that. Continue Reading →

The north wants in: The pride — and grievances — that fuel the Northern Ontario Party – by Claude Sharma ( – March 11, 2018)

The party is no longer fighting for the creation of a separate province of Northern Ontario. So what is it fighting for?

SUDBURY — Most people who have a young family to raise wouldn’t give up a third of their salary, a healthy benefits package, and other perks of a job at a crown agency for a slender chance at a seat in the legislature.

But Trevor Holliday has done just that. Driven by his passion for the north, the 35-year-old from Callander (a community about a 15-minute drive south of North Bay) quit his job as a bus driver with the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to take up the post of leader of the Northern Ontario Party (while also accepting a day job as manager for a commercial cleaning company to make ends meet).

“I want to fight for northern Ontario,” says the father of five, who feels the north has been mistreated and misgoverned by the mainstream parties at Queen’s Park. Continue Reading →

Ford promises to share Ontario mining taxes – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – May 4, 2018)

It has become a familiar scene in Sudbury: a crowd of largely silver-haired supporters waving Tory-blue banners, early-’80s hard rock blasting from speakers, and Doug Ford ascending a flag-decorated riser.

“I’ve been up here more than I’ve been in my own riding,” the PC leader remarked Thursday, to a hearty round of applause from the 200-odd faithful who filled half a gym at College Boreal.

The rally marked the third time the PC leader has been in the Nickel City since late February, when he first appeared as a candidate for the party leadership. He was back three weeks ago, at Cambrian College, vowing to replace Kathleen Wynne and put money in the pockets of taxpayers. Ford stuck to a similar script this time around, in many cases repeating the same phrases. He still wants to reduce hydro bills, fire the CEO of Hydro One, and resuscitate the Northlander train. Continue Reading →

NORTHERN ONTARIO’S DREAM TO SECEDE, REBORN: ‘WE’RE TREATED LIKE A COLONY’ – by Joseph Brean (National Post – April 11, 2018)

NORTH BAY — They called it Aurora. It was to be a new province in Canada, carved out of Ontario’s hinterland, so far northwest of Toronto it is a different place, practically Manitoba.

That was in the 1940s, when Hubert Limerick’s New Province League led the push for northern secession. It was hardly the first time, nor the last. The latest effort has taken the form of a revamped and renamed political party with a motley slate of candidates, now set to launch an ambitious election campaign in northern Ontario ridings.

Their aim is to seize the balance of power in what they hope, after June’s election, will be a narrowly divided legislature at Queen’s Park. Then, they want to seek a referendum on the creation — against all constitutional odds — of a new province. Continue Reading →


THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, applauds the landmark funding announced today for a major First Nation led infrastructure project, as Wataynikaneyap Power was awarded $1.6 billion to connect remote First Nation communities to the provincial power grid.

“This is a major achievement, and I honour the determination of Wataynikaneyap Power to bring reliable supplies of electricity to our remote First Nations. Wataynikaneyap has made tremendous progress connecting 16 remote First Nations to the provincial electricity grid in the first phase of this project, and we are pleased that Ontario has funded the expansion of this vital infrastructure to more remote communities.

Connecting our remote First Nations to the provincial energy grid will finally end their reliance on costly and dirty diesel generation and help bring health and economic benefits to our communities.” Continue Reading →

Sault steel mill prepares to build new $55-million alternative port – by David Helwig (Northern Ontario Business – March 16, 2018)

Essar Steel Algoma Inc. is seeking regulatory approvals for a new $55-million alternative port facility, apparently prepared to pull the plug on its existing arrangements with Port of Algoma Inc.

Recently filed court documents disclose that the Sault steelmaker started looking into building a port of its own last August.Early concepts included floating structures, fixed structures or a combination of both.

A prefeasibility investigation conducted for Algoma by a design and construction company concluded earlier this year that a fixed structure for docking ships and unloading raw material was feasible as an alternative to the existing Sault port, subject to securing necessary regulatory approvals. Continue Reading →

Progressive Conservatives outline plan for northern Ontario (CBC News Sudbury – March 16, 2018)

Ford says Ring of Fire project comparable to Alberta oilsands

The leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is promising to move the Ring of Fire mining project forward immediately if elected. Doug Ford and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli outlined the party’s plan for northern Ontario on Friday.

Ford was voted as the head of the party last weekend, after former leader Patrick Brown stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Ford is promising to develop infrastructure to access the remote mining area in the James Bay lowlands. “If I have to hop on that bulldozer myself with Vic on the other one, we’re going to start building the roads to get to the mining,” he said. Continue Reading →

Ferrochrome smelter bids draw concern from northeastern Ontario communities – by Robin De Angelis (CBC News Sudbury – February 12, 2018)

Noront to select smelter location this spring

As cities across northern Ontario await a decision on the location of Noront’s ferrochrome smelter, some people say they don’t want the site in their backyard.

The former Inco smelter in Coniston was chosen for Sudbury’s bid. If selected, the site would process chromite from Noront’s mining operation in the Ring of Fire. Community members are now mobilizing against the smelter and circulating a petition to “Save Coniston.”

The petition, which has garnered more than 270 signatures, states that “Coniston has long been a place where the earth remained scorched and contaminated from previous industrial processing.” Continue Reading →

LETTER: Disappointed by lack of urgency on Ring of Fire – by Ross Romano (Timmins Daily Press – January 31, 2018)

Ross Romano is the MPP for Sault Ste. Marie and Ontario PC Critic for Northern Jobs and the Ring of Fire.

TIMMINS – I was very disappointed to read in your paper that the Wynne Liberal government is continuing to delay getting to work on developing the Ring of Fire. It did not surprise me given their track record of inaction towards this once in a lifetime opportunity.

The timing of this news is increasingly disturbing given that community bid submissions to host the ferrochrome processing facility are due to Noront Resources Inc. by this coming Friday. The Liberals have known about this opportunity for the North and for all of Ontario for more than 10 years now, yet they continue to drag their feet on this project.

There is still a great deal of work that needs to be done before the shovels can break ground on the Ring of Fire road development. Instead of pursuing meaningful consultations and developing positive relationships in the region, the Liberals only seem to be interested in press releases, photo-ops and re-announcements. Continue Reading →

Seen as first step to multi-modal system with a future rail ‘spine’ (North Bay Nugget -January 25, 2018)

Two Ontario rail advocacy groups say the recent expansion of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) bus service is not only the first sign of hope for Northern public transportation users in many years, but it also paves the way to better rail service in the future.

“Any improvement of our system is welcome, whether that it be rail, bus or any other mode that is applicable and affordable,” says All Aboard Northern Ontario founder Eric Boutilier.

“Northern Ontario has seen nothing but a decline in mobility since January 1990, when the federal government hacked off half of the VIA Rail Canada system. The damage done by those cuts was only made worse by the provincial government’s callous 2012 decision to end the ONTC’s Northlander rail service instead of modernizing it.” Continue Reading →

MEDIA RELEASE: Alliance Between First Nations, Municipal Leaders, and Industry Formed to Defend a Way of Life

Welcomes Nathalie Des Rosiers as Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

January 18, 2018 – An Alliance of First Nation and non-First Nation leaders representing rights holders,  stakeholders, municipal leaders, unions, and Ontario’s forest sector has been formed to defend our way of life, with a mandate to grow the responsible use of natural resources in northern and rural Ontario.

Chief Thomas Johnson Jr., Seine River First Nation, said, “In light of reconciliation and economic sustainability, we as First Nations and non-First Nations must rally in support of one another to defend our shared forestry interests and lands unique to northern and rural Ontario through a working alliance, forged on the principles of unity, strength and prosperity.

Our collective action reaches beyond today by working to secure a sustainable future for the generations to come. As the Chief of Seine River, I stand in solidarity with The Alliance. I am calling all treaty partners to join and support us in moving the reconciliation agenda forward.” Continue Reading →

Why Ontario’s north needs regional governance — and soon – by John Michael McGrath (TV Ontario – January 16, 2018)

ANALYSIS: Northern Ontario isn’t just southern Ontario but colder. It also governs itself differently, writes John Michael McGrath, and the flaws in the current system are starting to show

​Timmins Mayor Steven Black started off 2018 on a sour note, thanks to a government seated nearly 700 kilometres away: Ontario’s. After more than a year of negotiations between Timmins and other municipalities that share the costs of the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (which administers services like Ontario Works), the northerners had finally hammered out an agreement that had cleared the necessary hurdles — until the Ministry of Community and Social Services said no via a letter in December.

Minister Helena Jaczek, heeding the call of mayors who preferred the current cost-sharing formula, put a stop to the changes and called on Timmins and its neighbours to reach a mediated solution over the next year. Continue Reading →