Report urges new thinking for Northern Ontario – by Staff (Sudbury Star – May 9, 2017)

New thinking is needed if Northern Ontario is ever going to restructure and reinvigorate its economy, a new report from the Northern Policy Institute suggests. Author Charles Conteh, a Brock University professor, said in his study, Economic Zones of Northern Ontario: City-Regions and Industrial Corridors, that Northern communities must be given the tools to control their economic development.

He said the top-down approach of senior levels of government towards Northern Ontario hasn’t — and won’t — work. “Due to the significant diversity between communities in Northern Ontario, policies and planning aimed at addressing specific economic challenges are more valuable than one-size-fits-all, top-down programs,” Conteh said.

“Economic zones offer an opportunity for upper levels of government to frame a new kind of partnership guided by the priorities of communities.” Conteh said it’s a mistake to think of Northern Ontario as one or two regions, or as five urban-centred regions, because they do not reflect the reality of northern diversity.

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Column: ‘Quick fix’ budget leaves Ontario’s North behind – by John Vanthof (Sudbury Star – May 3, 2017)

John Vanthof is the NDP MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane.

The Kathleen Wynne government released its latest budget last Thursday, and it is disappointing to say the least. The first thing that struck me was the Liberal government’s continued refusal to stop the sale of Hydro One. Their reasoning is disturbingly clear: The Liberals are using the one-time proceeds from the sale of Hydro One to balance the government’s books.

Even worse, the government has lost more than $1 billion of revenue; these funds are now going to private investors who have bought 30 per cent of Hydro One shares. Going forward, this revenue will continue to be lost every year to private interests, instead of funding the programs and services that Ontario taxpayers rely on.

While the government has proposed to lower the hydro rates by decreasing delivery charges, this plan is funded by the taxpayer through government borrowing. Ultimately, you and I will continue pay the full hydro bill and resulting interest on this government’s debts.

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Budget missing Ring of Fire cash, says Conservative critic – by Leith Dunick ( – April 27, 2017)

Ontario budget also guts Northern Development and Mines spending by $70 million, says Vic Fedeli

TORONTO – The Conservative’s finance critic has slammed the Ontario budget, saying it proves the governing Liberals have given up on Northern Ontario. Vic Fedeli said the budget, released on Thursday, includes a $70-million cut to Northern Development and Mines and the $1 billion promised for Ring of Fire infrastructure has mysteriously disappeared.

“The Ministry helps to establish mining operations all over Northern Ontario, creating good well-paying jobs that help to grow our Northern economy — obviously not a concern of this government,” Fedeli said.

“It came as a serious shock to see that this year’s budget removed all mention of the Ring of Fire. After three years of promises the Wynne government has completely abandoned this critical mining project,” Fedeli said.

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Northern Ontario is Canada’s future; Conservative leadership candidate promises he will make Ring of Fire a national priority, boost regional health care – by Erin O’Toole (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – April 23, 2017)

THIS week in Thunder Bay, I visited the Terry Fox memorial and was reminded of the tremendous determination of this iconic Canadian and the community spirit he continues to inspire three decades after his death. Canadians are a generous people who help our neighbours at home and have long played a role in helping around the world from Vimy Ridge to Kandahar.

Northern Ontarians have always gone the extra mile to answer the call of service to help their neighbours. Local leaders know the needs of their communities far better than bureaucrats in Ottawa. That’s why it’s time we empower Northern Ontario to set its own course and become a national economic driver once more.

From Kenora to Thunder Bay to Timmins, northerners know the needs of their communities and the tremendous potential of projects like the Ring of Fire. As an Ontario MP, I also recognize that the development of resources in our north not only creates jobs in this area of the province, but will benefit all Canadians through resource royalties and the addition of secondary processing jobs.

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NPI: Northern Ontario needs people – by Staff (Sudbury Star – April 17, 2017)

Northern Ontario is leaking workers and people. If nothing is done, that could easily turn into a flood, The Northern Policy Institute warns. In a release, the Northern Policy Institute said the North will be short 75,000 workers and 150,000 people by the year 2041, even after allowing for the expected growth in the region’s Indigenous population.

To make up for such losses, Northern Ontario would have to attract, on average, some 6,000 people a year, starting next year and every year for the next 25 years. “This will require real resources, significant effort and serious commitment,” the institute said.

It will also require an evidence-based plan. To that end, the Northern Policy Institute has launched a new project, Northern Attraction, to collect the evidence, engage with experts, and develop that action plan to share with key decision-makers, community partners and the broader public.

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[Ontario] Poor rail service continues to plague north – by Éric Boutilier (Sudbury Star – April 17, 2017)

Éric Boutilier is a spokesperson with the Northern & Eastern Ontario Rail Network.

I’ve recently made an observation as a lifelong resident of Northern Ontario: if you don’t own or are unable to operate a vehicle, don’t expect the government to care or assist you with your need to travel to and from your community.

If you’re sick, poor, frail or live in an isolated region, both the provincial and federal governments don’t see the need to provide you with a safe, reliable and comfortable means of transportation in order to access health care, education, tourism opportunities, or to visit family and friends.

Since 2012, the Liberals and Conservatives have axed a number essential transportation routes without public consultation. The Grits cut the Northlander, the region’s only daily train, in favour of an “enhanced bus service.”

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Northern Ontario Party taking steps to form riding associations – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – April 12, 2017)

TIMMINS – After establishing its first riding association in Nipissing this week, the Northern Ontario Party’s next target is Timiskaming-Cochrane.

“It’s already registered with Elections Ontario,” party leader Trevor Holliday said of the riding association for Timiskaming-Cochrane. “The Northern Ontario Heritage Party had somebody run in the 2014 election, and he actually received 2.3% of the vote (625 votes, which was nearly 100 more than the Green Party candidate received).

“The riding association is still there. It never de-registered. However, with nobody in place to keep it going, we have to re-establish the people in positions.” The party has a public meeting planned in Kirkland Lake next week to do just that.

“We have a couple of people who are interested in getting that riding association up and running,” said Holliday, who is from North Bay. “That’s the main thing we’re looking for: People that feel the same passion we do about Northern Ontario and are willing to step forward and help out.”

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Cobalt is king for Vancouver developer – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – December 2, 2016)

The namesake metal of the town of Cobalt is the focus of a Vancouver company which has acquired a former silver mine property near the historic northeastern Ontario community. CobalTech Mining, formerly known as Big North Graphite, closed the acquisition of the former Duncan Kerr property from Trio Resources of Toronto on Nov. 23.

The company has plans to dig into the leftover piles of mineralized material on the surface to source cobalt.

Their 32-hectare property, located three kilometres southeast of the town in Coleman Township, contains the underground remnants of the former Kerr and Lawson silver mines, which operated intermittently from the mid-1900s through to the 1960s.

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Network battling to restore passenger rail in northeastern Ontario – by PJ Wilson (North Bay Nugget – November 23, 2016)

Every person in Ontario pays $155.62 a year to support the GO trains and buses that operate in southern Ontario. Meanwhile, the provincial subsidy for the now-defunct Northlander passenger train cost 86 cents for every man, woman and child in the province, according to Eric Boutilier.

Boutilier, a member of the Northern and Eastern Ontario Rail Network, said Tuesday it is possible to bring passenger rail service back to northeastern Ontario. It’s going to take a fight to do so, he said, but it’s a fight that’s well worth the effort.

“In Northern Ontario, we have very limited options for transportation,” Boutilier said. “If you want to get anywhere, you have to take the highway.” But particularly in winter, he said, that option is not always do-able.

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[FedNor] Northern leaders contend program’s potency compromised by rash of factors – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – November 2, 2016)

SAULT STE. MARIE – The mayors from across Northern Ontario are prepared to step up their action in the hopes of convincing the federal government to improve FedNor for the sake of all the North. Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano hosted the Northern Ontario Large Urban Mayors meeting in Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday.

Mayors from Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timmins, gathered in the Sault to discuss issues with its funding agencies, FedNor and Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. (NOHFC), as well as topics that affect all the communities, including rising energy prices, Ring of Fire development and the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. North Bay’s mayor joined the conversation by telephone conference.

Provenzano said FedNor topped the discussion at the meeting and the top elected officials have said they’re going to elevate the discussion about FedNor. He said the mayors want to go to the Northern Ontario Liberal Caucus and have a discussion directly with the region’s federal members of Parliament.

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NEWS RELEASE: New commentary suggests a prosperous future for Northern Ontario rests on how we are governed

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September 27, 2016 – A new commentary released by Northern Policy Institute suggests that many of Northern Ontario’s economic and social problems are linked to how the region is governed.

In the last thirty years, Northern Ontario’s economy has not performed as well as the province as a whole – or than the economies of northern parts of other provinces. Beyond economic issues, Northern Ontario is also underperforming in education and general conditions of its population, particularly Indigenous peoples.

Governance in Northern Ontario: Taking Ownership of the Future, by David MacKinnon, uses evidence to propose that Northern Ontario should pursue a regional governance model – people in a region determining their collective ends, means, and values – as a major step forward for the region.

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[The Great Provincial Divide – Northern Ontario Separation] – The Agenda’s Steve Paikin interviews Laure Paquette, Erik White and Stan Sudol (March 11, 2016) The Agenda explores the idea of northern Ontario separating from the south. Laure Paquette is an Associate Professor at Lakehead University’s Political Science department in Thunder Bay. Erik White is a journalist at CBC Radio Sudbury. Stan Sudol is publisher/editor of, a mining aggregator website, freelance mining columnist for the Sudbury Star and …

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Sudbury Star Editorial: What Northern Ontario needs from Ottawa – by Don MacDonald (Sudbury Star – August 17, 2016)

Voters in Northern Ontario were good to Justin Trudeau and federal Liberals, giving the party seven seats in its return to power in 2015, including the Sudbury area’s two ridings. So in a way, it’s no surprise that Prime Minister Trudeau and his cabinet are meeting in the Nickel City for a retreat, starting Saturday.

The cabinet has a lot on its plate, as all federal cabinets do. But given where they are meeting, let’s hope Trudeau and his ministers take some time to consider what Northern Ontario and Greater Sudbury could use from the federal Liberal government.

If the ministers spend any time on Sudbury’s roads, they will learn quickly they are a mess. The City of Greater Sudbury is spending less than half of what it should each year to maintain its roads; there is a backlog of hundreds of millions worth of work that needs to be done and little money to do it. It’s a backlog that grows every year.

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Can Kathleen Wynne handle northern Ontario’s growing discontent? – by Steve Paikin ( – August 8, 2016)

Kathleen Wynne arrives in Little Current, Manitoulin Island, in a big black SUV, surrounded by all the trappings of being premier of Ontario. There are the omnipresent staffers who do the advance work and try to keep her on schedule. And there is the Ontario Provincial Police security detail trying to look unobtrusive but not quite succeeding.

Wynne has decided to drop in on the Manitoulin Country Fest. It’s a blazingly hot day on the world’s largest freshwater island, and probably the last thing on anyone’s mind in this town of 2,700 people is politics. A smallish crowd has come to hear country music, and while Wynne doesn’t want to interrupt their enjoyment of the day, this is Day Two of her current northern swing.

And so, she will do the thing she is so good at ̶ shake some hands, make small talk with the locals, meet some island politicians, hear about their concerns, check out what’s on offer at the booths, and listen.

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[KWG Resources] Mining firm stands behind sexy ads – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – August 11, 2016)

There’s no such thing as bad press, says Frank Smeenk, so he won’t apologize for a controversial and sexy video hyping the Ring of Fire. Smeenk is president and chief executive officer of KWG Resources Ltd., an exploration company participating in the discovery, delineation and development of chromite deposits in the Ring of Fire.

Smeenk has come under fire since a short video produced by model-actress-entrepreneur Theresa Longo was released on YouTube. In it, Longo, 29, and friend Ashley Bonar, 32, rhyme off five facts about the Ring of Fire while dressed in bikini tops and short shorts at a cottage in Haliburton.

Smeenk said the idea for the video wasn’t his, but he’s glad Longo thought of it because it’s garnering headlines for the junior miner in Canada and abroad. That can’t be bad for a company trying to attract investors.

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