Archive | Northern Ontario Politics

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

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

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)

http://www.timminspress.com/

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)

http://www.nugget.ca/

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)

https://tvo.org/

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 →

Rural medicine: How a gamble to bring in doctors is paying off – by ANDRÉ PICARD (Globe and Mail – January 15, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Twelve years after the first class began at The Northern Ontario School of Medicine, many remote communities have ‘gone from crisis mode to planning mode’ thanks to graduates, the majority of which opt to practise in rural areas

When the Northern Ontario School of Medicine was created, it was based on a simple – but untested – premise: If you educate and train physicians in rural and remote northern communities, they will be more likely to practise there.

Twelve years later, the gamble is paying off better than anyone expected: 94 per cent of NOSM graduates who do a family medicine residency in the North stay there to practise, and 69 per cent of all graduates, specialists and GPs alike, have opted to work in remote and rural areas, particularly Northern Ontario.

“Has it worked?” Dr. Roger Strasser, the dean of NOSM asks. “Yes it has. Many northern communities have gone from crisis mode to planning mode thanks to our graduates. But we’re still a long way from having the medical care we need in Northern Ontario.” Continue Reading →

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli ‘excited’ Northern passenger rail has been proposed – by Gord Young (North Bay Nugget – October 13, 2017)

http://www.nugget.ca/

he return of passenger rail service to Northern Ontario is among the many policy proposals Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives will be voting on early next month. “I’m very excited about this proposal,” says Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, noting the return of a viable passenger rail service is a “key piece” for the North.

He stresses, however, that a “viable plan” is required, noting the Ontario Northland Railway’s former Northlander passenger train is gone. “The Northlander was stripped by the Liberal government,” says Fedeli, suggesting the cars are no longer available and that a new train service be built from the ground up using Northern rail experts.

The provincial Tories have oft been criticized for advocating on issues related to the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) because of a proposal by the Mike Harris government to cancel the Northlander and a subsequent proposal to privatize other divisions of the Crown agency. Continue Reading →

Romano visits Ring of Fire – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – October 5, 2017)

http://www.saultstar.com/

As Sault MPP Ross Romano is headed to the far north to visit the Ring of Fire area and meet with First Nation communities, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. is keeping its line of communication open Noront Resources.

Romano left Thursday for the far north and is expected to return home Oct. 15. His plan, which he had talked about during the provincial byelection campaign, was to visit the region, tour the area and learn more about issues facing First Nation communities in the area.

His goals are to tour the area to get a full appreciation of the challenges the provincial government faces to develop the road and how to properly address the relationship with Indigenous communities. Continue Reading →

Could more autonomy hurt the north? One expert says yes – by Frank Giorno (Timmins Today – September 28, 2017)

https://www.timminstoday.com/

“For example, Manitoba established a university in its north in the 19th
Century, but in Ontario it took until the 1960s to start up a Northern
university. The decision was made in Queen’s Park,” said Robinson. “Queen’s
Park is keeping the University of Toronto’s mining school when it could be
more successful in northern Ontario.”

Robinson spoke about the success of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and
Services Association (SAMSSA) in promoting northern Ontario mining and
how Queen’s Park disagreed with its development.

TIMMINS — Striving for greater autonomy for northern Ontario comes with risk, says an expert who spoke at a conference on the state of the region. Devolved jurisdictions like Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland have not succeeded as proponents expected, said David MacKinnon, a former senior civil servant with the Ontario government’s Ministry of Finance who has also worked in Nova Scotia.

“The question to ask is whether devolution of power will lead to improved governance, or perhaps the opposite,” MacKinnon told conference-goers at a two-day conference held in Timmins by the Northern Policy Insitutute. “Devolution does have serious risks in my view.” Continue Reading →

Move more civil service jobs out of Toronto – it worked in Peterborough – by Rosemary Ganley (Peterborough Examiner – August 31, 2017)

http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/

Coming back from a Northern Ontario Business conference one day in 1986, Premier David Peterson asked his fellow passengers, including me, in the government aircraft: “Is there anything tangible that we can do to help northern and other regional communities that are suffering economically?”

I was at the time deputy minister of Northern Development and Mines and I said, “We could help them by transferring a lot of government jobs out of Toronto, which is booming, and into places that need them.” This prompted a series of meetings with him and senior Queen’s Park staff, the result of which was a decision to proceed with a number of transfers, including my ministry (to Sudbury).

Two years later I had moved to the Ministry of Natural Resources. I was informed that the MNR head office was also to be transferred and we should decide quickly on our preferred destination. The following day, my executives and I selected Peterborough and our recommendation went to the Premier and cabinet. Continue Reading →

Should Ontario Northland be the railroader for the Ring of Fire? – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 6, 2017)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Regional railway says it has the smarts, capability to serve James Bay mining camp

The Ontario Northland Railway (ONR) is ready to be a logistical player in the Ring of Fire, if and when an ore haul railroad is required.

Now that Queen’s Park has unveiled a road-building timetable to reach the Far North mineral deposits, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission president-CEO Corina Moore said the North Bay-headquartered Crown railroader has the ability to do the job.

“Ontario Northland remains interested in providing input on how we can provide rail support in the future with regards to the Ring of Fire,” said Moore in an email. She was responding to comments made by Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts, who hinted that the ONR could serve as the exclusive railroader to the Ring.

“When the Ring of Fire chromite market grows to a level requiring rail, Ontario Northland has the experience, technology, and capabilities to safely operate and maintain the rail infrastructure,” replied Moore. Continue Reading →

Battle for Northern Ontario raging 9 months before provincial election – by Robert Benzie (Toronto Star – August 26, 2017)

https://www.thestar.com/

The next provincial election is more than nine months away, but the battle for Northern Ontario is already raging. Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown, making his 27th trip to the region since taking his party’s helm in May 2015, gathered his caucus in Timmins this week to underscore that “the North matters.”

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne spent most of the week visiting remote parts of Northern Ontario, including First Nations, to tout her government’s latest efforts to kick-start the stalled Ring of Fire chromite mining project. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, whose party holds most of the seats there, has also kept the north on the front-burner in this final summer before the election, which will be June 7.

“Let’s face it: Northern Ontario has been ignored by the Wynne Liberals for far too long,” Brown, whose party leads the Liberals in most public-opinion surveys, told his caucus mates Friday. “They have left hardworking Northern Ontario families paying more and getting less,” he said, speaking from a podium emblazoned with a sign reading “A Voice for the North.” Continue Reading →

Brown critiques Wynne on Ring of Fire – by Emma Meldrum (Timmins Daily Press – August 28, 2017)

http://www.timminspress.com/

The Ontario Progressive Conservative leader spoke to the press from Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa on Friday. He suggested that Liberal leader Wynne address Ontario’s opioid crisis with an awareness campaign.

“Today, I want to announce here in Timmins that our Ontario PC caucus will introduce a bill calling for the Liberal government to invest at least ten per cent of their advertising budget this year into an opioid awareness campaign, and they should do this immediately,” he said.

Brown said government ads have skyrocketed, with $57 million being spent in this fiscal year. “They’re using taxpayer dollars to campaign, and the real purpose of government advertising is for a public good, and understanding this is a crisis where we need an education campaign. There’s a lack of understanding and awareness.” Continue Reading →

Fedeli slams Wynne over Ring of Fire – by Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles (North Bay Nugget – August 22, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement that the province will move ahead with building roads into the Ring of Fire is earning jeers from Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. Fedeli expressed frustration over the lack of concern for the North and empty promises over the last 10 years following Wynne’s announcement Monday.

“It’s simply election talk. She’s had 10 years to do something and now a few months before an election she’s making an announcement.” He said Wynne made a similar promise in 2014, but nothing was ever done.

“There’s actually been three funding announcements in support of the Ring of Fire and yet again, nothing has been done,” Fedeli said. “The latest was in the 2017 budget where there was no mention of the Ring of Fire, so where’s this funding coming from?” Continue Reading →

Far northern Ontario provincial ridings to be doubled (CBC News Sudbury – August 8, 2017)

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

Legislature to vote this fall to split current two electoral ridings into four in time for 2018 election

The Ontario legislature will vote this fall on adding two more ridings to the province. Over the spring months, an electoral boundaries commission traveled across northern Ontario seeking feedback from residents.

The panel was tasked with finding a way to better represent the Far North region at Queen’s Park. That region is currently divided into two ridings: Kenora-Rainy River and Timmins James Bay. In its final report published Tuesday, the commission recommends doubling the number of ridings to four.

The other ridings to be created would be Kiiwetinoong in the northwest, and Mushkegowuk in the northeast. Kiiwetinoong would be a mostly Indigenous riding, while Mushkegowuk would be mostly Francophone. Continue Reading →