Archive | Northern Ontario Politics

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 →

Timmins roundtable calls for a better natural resources stategy – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – May 28, 2018)

http://www.timminspress.com/

Timmins Mayor Steve Black was joined by several high profile business leaders Monday to call on the new Ontario government, no matter which party wins the election, to create a formal natural resources strategy that goes above and beyond anything done before.

The event was a roundtable that brought together mining, forestry and business leaders for talks at the Timmins Chamber of Commerce.

Responding to question from The Daily Press, Black said the gathering was non-partisan and was not endorsing any single political party. He said the issue was serious enough to be embraced by all parties regardless of which party wins. Continue Reading →

‘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)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

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)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

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)

http://www.timminspress.com/

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)

https://www.nationalobserver.com/

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 (TVO.org – March 11, 2018)

https://tvo.org/

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)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

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)

http://nationalpost.com/

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 →

NEWS RELEASE: NAN APPLAUDS LANDMARK INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENT

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)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

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)

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

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 →