Party leaders pressed on their stance on Ring of Fire development at FONOM conference – by Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles (North Bay Nugget – May 12, 2022)

Debate about the development of the Ring of Fire was noticeably absent during Tuesday’s Northern Ontario Leaders’ Debate at the Capitol Centre. National and local media had an opportunity to raise the issue with the party leaders following the debate hosted by the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM).

Conservative Leader Doug Ford left the building immediately after the debate. NDP leader Andrea Horwath acknowledged some topics were missing, however “we were respectful about what they wanted to put on the agenda.”

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Candidates have differing opinions on mining’s future in Sudbury – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – May 12, 2022)

Green candidate says new jobs will come from supply and services, and research, not mineral extraction

With the PC rep absent there was plenty the remaining mainstream Sudbury candidates could agree upon, although the three did clash from time to time — particularly on the question of how much mineral extraction drives the local economy.

Both Jamie West, the NDP incumbent, and David Farrow, running for the Liberals, took exception to Green candidate David Robinson’s assessment of how significant the city’s signature industry is to its future prosperity.

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Sudbury election file: City has key role in critical minerals, Green candidate says -by Staff (Sudbury Star – April 30, 2022)

The Ford government “kneecapped” Laurentian University and its ability to conduct mining research and development when it was needed the most, the Green Party’s Sudbury candidate says.

Referring to a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, David Robinson said the world must cut emissions to fight climate change. A key part of that is the need for critical minerals for such things as batteries used in electric vehicles.

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Trends troubling for north’s economic future (Kirkland Lake Northern News – November 24, 2021)

For report:

Northern College has released an in-depth economic study outlining key barriers to economic expansion and recovery in Northern Ontario following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 24-page study, entitled Coming Back From Covid: A Plan to Rebuild Northern Ontario, was created in partnership with The StrategyCorp Institute of Public Policy and Economy, and was designed to provide an overview of past, current and future economic issues being faced by Ontario’s north.

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Ontario Seeks to “Re-Focus” Far North Act ( – November 9, 2021)


KENORA – NEWS – The Ontario government is proposing to refocus the Far North Act and its regulations for Far North economic development and joint planning with Indigenous partners. The revised Act will focus on enabling the development of all-season roads, electrical transmission projects and mineral development, while maintaining community-based land-use planning.

“Our government remains committed to working with Far North First Nations to support legacy infrastructure and responsible natural resource development that creates prosperity for First Nation communities,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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).

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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