Balance in Far North Bill – Toronto Star September 19, 2010 Editorial Comment on McGuinty Liberal’s “Far North Bill”

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This editorial was originally published on September 19, 2010.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Beyond romantic notions of caribou running wild across endless tundra, most Ontarians know very little about the northernmost 40 per cent of our province.

Much of the land is barren and beautiful, but it is also facing increasing pressure for development; logging, mining and power companies all see great potential there. The First Nations, who have long called the region home, need a say in determining the future of the land and an assurance that they will benefit economically from its development.

The province, on the other hand, needs to balance these interests with environmental protections for the northern boreal region, a globally significant ecosystem. The provincial government’s Far North Act, Bill 191, would achieve that balance.

So it is unfortunate that the chiefs of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) territory are threatening that there will be “no peace on the land” if the government passes the bill in the coming days.

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McGuinty Headed for a Northern [Ontario] Showdown – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun-September 16, 2010)

Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The Liberals’ Far North Act will kill the ‘economic equivalent of another Sudbury’

When mayors, chambers of commerce and aboriginal groups from across the north all converge on Queen’s Park, you know there’s trouble brewing.

That happened Wednesday, as anger over the government’s Far North Act boiled over from the wide landscapes of the north, its boreal forests and mines to the manicured southern lawns of Queen’s Park.

New Democrat Gilles Bisson stormed out of a committee hearing on Bill 191, calling the process a “sham.” He’d asked that the bill not be called for third reading and the government go back to the drawing board.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy, usually a moderate, angrily declared aboriginal people will take “direct action” to protect their rights.

“We will do whatever is necessary to protect our interests, and if that calls for direct action, that’s what’s going to take place,” Beardy said.

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Liberals should rethink the [Ontario’s] Far North Act – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun-August 19, 2010)

Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Northerners don’t expect government hand-outs, or intrusive legislation from a remote provincial government in the south

The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. Similarly, it seems the highway to God’s country ends in a dead-end created by well-meaning but wrong-headed do-gooders.

Northern Ontario has spectacular landscapes, vast mineral riches, untold tourism potential and resilient, self-reliant folk.

While northerners don’t expect government hand-outs, they also don’t expect intrusive legislation from a remote provincial government in the south.

Yet that’s what’s happening with the Far North Act, which would put half the land north of the 51st parallel out of bounds for development. Worse, the government hasn’t said which 50% of land is off the table.
That uncertainty means mining companies are thinking twice before they invest in the north.

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A History of the Canadian Shield – Canada’s Mineral Treasure Trove – David Kilgour (Part 2 of 2)

The Honourable David Kilgour P.C., is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Edmonton Southeast.

North of the Fiftieth Parallel

In addition to its northeast and northwest, Ontario also has another north, the one beyond the fiftieth parallel where boreal forests become tundra. Sioux Lookout, Moosonee and Red Lake/Balmertown are its major cities; places like Pickle Lake and Ear Falls are its “towns.” Most of its approximately 30,000 residents live in isolated communities, accessible mostly by bush planes.

Culturally, the various Ontario Norths differ both from each other and from the southern part of the province. Many non-British newcomers reached parts of northern Ontario and Prairie Canada in roughly equal numbers and at about the same time. Today, despite the passage of three generations, multiculturalism has triumphed in numerous northern communities.

Francophones are found everywhere in northern Ontario, although most numerous in the northeast, and today command reasonable access to francophone education, radio and health services in a number of census districts. A second major group is the aboriginal peoples who predominate “north of fifty” either as status Indians, with treaty rights, as non-status Indians, or as Métis. Ojibway is spoken in the south; Ojibway and Cree in the centre; Cree only in the north. Band councils and Band chiefs are the municipal governments of these peoples. It troubles small native communities who live from fishing and hunting that their band chairmen are not yet recognized by Queen’s Park and Ottawa as they are by other Indians.

The living conditions of Ontario aboriginals tend to vary with the situation of the neighbouring white centres. The Fort William band members near Thunder Bay live quite well; conditions for people living near less prosperous centres are often outrageous. Native communities in some remote reserves compare unfavourably with settlements in developing world nations. Virtually nowhere today do hunting, fishing, trapping, and wild rice harvesting provide decent livings. High school and junior education is generally inadequate for young persons choosing either to remain in the north or to seek future-oriented jobs in the south.

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A History of the Canadian Shield – Canada’s Mineral Treasure Trove – David Kilgour (Part 1 of 2)

The Honourable David Kilgour P.C., is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Edmonton Southeast.

The Canadian Shield is, to most Canadians and foreigners alike, the quintessential Canada. I share this view having lived in the Gatineau Park spur of it for more than a decade and having often vacationed at Lake of the Woods for many more years. In countless ways, the Shield is idyllic. I think, for example, of the hundreds of motor boats which gather each July 1st in Kenora Bay at the north end of Lake of the Woods to watch Canada Day fireworks. Mingled with townspeople at these annual events under the stars are summer residents from all over the country. Many would move to the area to live year round if they could somehow earn a living; some do.

Approximately two million Québeckers and Ontarians combined live on the Canadian Shield. Since its borders are physical rather than political, residents on both sides of the provincial boundary lack effective structures through which they can pursue common regional concerns. The north of both provinces contains relatively thinly-populated frontier hinterlands; for many years, each of them has had only a limited influence on its respective provincial parliament and upon Ottawa policy makers.

The Shield in fact occupies more than forty per cent of our national territory across five provinces, but contains only eight per cent of our national population. In recent years, vigorous natural resource competition from developing countries, a declining resource-orientation of the world economy, and the weakened political position of the American economy have reduced mineral exploration and development across the region. Decades ago, it also contributed to the development of our national self-identity through the art of the Group of Seven and considerable writing about Northern self-reliance.

John Diefenbaker’s view that our national future lay in harnessing the distant North was popular in its day.

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Northern Ontario’s Ed Deibel is Back – Queen’s Park Should be Afraid – by Nick Stewart

This article was orginally published in Northern Ontario Business in the June, 2010 issue. Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investers with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

The man who once wanted a separate province for Northern Ontario straps on his political boxing gloves again

Unrest over the province’s handling of the North’s natural resources is rousing an old political hand back into action, as North Bay’s Edward Deibel attempts to revive the long-dormant Northern Ontario Heritage Party (NOHP).

Though he never secured a single seat, Deibel’s first efforts to push the NOHP in the late 1970s received such attention that the province responded by creating the Ministry of Northern Affairs, or what is now known as the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry.

Time, experience, and a lack of popular support have changed Deibel’s approach from when he first walked away from the party 30 years ago, however.

The idea of creating a Northern Ontario province, the NOHP’s dominant goal in its heyday, has since changed to simply represent the region’s interests by having 11 NOHP MPPs elected to Queen’s Park.

“This is the formula, and all Northerners have to wake up and say that this has to happen,” says Deibel.

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Ontario’s Mason-Dixon Line: It all boils down to whether you can live with bears or not – by Roy MacGregor

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media.

This article was originally published by Globe and Mail Columnist Roy MacGregor on Friday, September 12, 2003

BIRCH LAKE, ONT. — ‘Maybe I should change my boots,” the owner of Black Bear Lodge says as the reporter hauls a camera out of the trunk of his car.  “I got blood on them — wouldn’t want anyone calling me a murderer, would I?”

It has happened before. A few years ago, Bob Lowe was invited to his daughter Sandra’s high school in Sudbury to explain what he does for a living.  When he arrived, hand-painted signs were taped to the walls.



For the past dozen years, Bob and Vicki Lowe have run a hunting and fishing operation 15 kilometres up a twisting logging road from the tiny village of Webbwood.  Until four years ago, their life was quiet, unnoticed and modestly profitable, right up until the Ontario government banned the spring bear hunt.

And nothing, absolutely nothing, defines the difference between Northern and Southern Ontario better than the spring bear hunt.

This mammoth province, in fact, can be split by the French and Mattawa Rivers, one running west into Lake Huron, the other east to the Ottawa River.  They serve as a watery Mason-Dixon line to cut the north off from the south, both physically and psychologically.

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Northern Ontario Heritage Party Wants a Separate Province for the North-by Michael Atkins

Michael Atkins is the president of Laurentian Media Group This column was originally published in the May, 2010 edition of Northern Ontario Business

Somewhere out there, just ahead of the blackflies is a small group of people across Northern Ontario knocking on doors looking to sign up enough people to bring the Northern Ontario Heritage Party (NOHP) back to life.

If you have any gray hair at all you will remember Ed Deibel tried to win some seats with the same party and many of the same ideas some 35 years ago. His effort brought no seats, but it did have an impact. Back then the objective was to separate provincial status. The current objective seems less clear.

It is no accident the province currently administers a $100-million investment fund called the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). You can thank Ed. It is no accident the province of Ontario set up the original Ministry of Northern Affairs and Development in the shadow of the Heritage Party so many years ago and appointed the first minster, Leo Bernier, from Hudson, just down the road from Sioux Lookout. Leo was a staple on the rubber chicken circuit in Northern Ontario for years. He had a great passion for the North, but was ineffective when it came to actually getting anything done. He had no clout.

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Former Premier Peterson’s Northern Ontario Vision Beats Current McGuinty Policies – by David Robinson

Dr. David Robinson is an economist at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada. His column was originally published in Northern Ontario Business.

The year 1990 was the high point in development planning for the North. The most dramatic and successful initiatives came from a southerner, David Peterson.

Peterson was elected in 1985. He immediately created a new Ministry of Northern Affairs and Mines. He appointed himself minister and went to work. He moved the Ministry of Northern Development and the Ontario Geological Survey to the North. This was the most effective single development decision of the last 30 years. Then the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Act was passed in 1990. And that was the year the voters threw Peterson out. Not much has happened since.

Leonard Cohen must have been thinking of this wild affair when he sang:

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Colonialism or Capitalism for Northern Ontario – Gregory Reynolds

This column was originally published in the Winter, 2010 issue of Highgrader Magazine which is committed to serve the interests of northerners by bringing the issues, concerns and culture of the north to the world through the writings and art of award-winning journalists as well as talented freelance artists, writers and photographers.

Colonialism: control by a nation over a dependent territory.
Capitalism; control by a company over a dependent nation.

That is not the text book definition of capitalism but to many Canadians today that is the reality of the present economic system. The basic difference between the two definitions is that force of arms created colonialism but governments today actually welcome companies with their bags of money and empty promises.

Talk to residents of a British Columbia lumber mill town that has watched the company that owns it shut it down while there were still trees to be cut and homes to be built.

Talk to the residents of Alberta as they watch the owners of the oil sands developments create the biggest environment disaster in North America.

Talk to a wheat farmer in Saskatchewan who often must sell it at a lower price than it could get on the world market because a government created board dictates prices. Talk to a hog producer who is cut off from the United States market because American producers want higher prices by limiting access.

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Funding Mining Innovation in Toronto Instead of Sudbury Fuels Northern Ontario Resentment – Michael Atkins

Growth Not & Fed Not

How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Michael Atkins is president of Northern Life and sits on the Board of Governors of Laurentian University

“Growthnot” is a term for the much-hyped, once-upon-a-time Northern Ontario Growth Plan promoted by the province, which has been diligently crisscrossing the north interviewing, caucusing, conferencing, engaging with, and otherwise teasing northerners about a new beginning in economic planning for northern Ontario.

The plan would feature bringing together and aligning many ministries of the province to attack the disastrous economic conditions in the north. The first announcement of significance to affect the north came from the co-chair of the Northern Ontario Growth Plan, George Smitherman, who is also deputy premier of Ontario and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. He announced an infrastructure investment in a mining innovation centre at the University of Toronto, which competes with the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) at Laurentian University.

“FedNot” is a term for FedNor — the once proud and (some might say) cocky federal economic development organization that stands humiliated by its minister and mocked by Sudbury Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci (we must credit him for the FedNot moniker) for refusing to invest in CEMI.

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Revisting the Idea of Northern Ontario Separation – by Stan Sudol

This column was originally published in Northern Life on Jun. 21, 2007

The McGuinty Liberal’s policies of the past four years are severely hampering Northern Ontario’s two main industries – forestry and mining.

In the spring, Premier Dalton McGuinty ignored a delegation of five northern mayors, whom collectively represented two-thirds of the region’s population, and were presenting a policy document – Northern Lights: Strategic Investments in Ontario’s Greatest Asset – that detailed constructive solutions for the region’s many problems.

After 130 years of being a resource colony for the south, has the time finally come to create our own province?

Yes, I see the eyes rolling and the heads shaking, but northern separation does have merit.

And if it was possible to carve out Nunavut from the former Northwest Territories with a tiny population of about 30,000 – roughly twice that of Kenora – then a separate province in the north is economically feasible.

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CBC Radio Cuts Continue Colonial Treatment of Northern Ontario – by Michael Atkins

Michael Atkins is president of Northern Life – – Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper.

I have written for years about the colonial aspects of living in rural Canada, most of that experience gained from my life in northern Ontario and my family history in Nova Scotia. It does become a little pedantic, but the essence of the message is that you can’t expect to be a grown up, mature, sustainable community or economy, if you have no control or accountability for your environment. If you are not entrusted with responsibility, how would you know how to exercise it?

In the broad spectrum of life in northern Ontario, our people are without influence. We have no meaningful input or accountability for education policy, resource policy, energy policy, social policy, tax policy, immigration policy, economic strategy, or business strategies.
The mining companies do their thinking in São Paulo Brazil, or Zug, Switzerland, the paper companies, to the extent they still have a pulse now, do it in Maryland or Montreal, and all other decisions are made in Toronto or Ottawa. By and large, northerners don’t care that much. They are more focused on the economic hardship they are experiencing, rather than the power relations that exacerbate it.

Northerners are more focused on the economic hardship they are experiencing, rather than the power relations that exacerbate it.

We can add a new silo to this pathetic legacy.

The recent decision to gut the CBC Radio infrastructure in northern Ontario is a case in point. This is a decision made in Ottawa, or maybe Toronto, without one second of consideration for its impact on the north.

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Northern Ontario Separation Episode on TV Ontario – Stan Sudol

Last week, I had the pleasure of being invited onto TVO’s flagship current affairs program, The Agenda, hosted by Steve Paikin. The topic for the first half-hour segment was about northern Ontario forming a separate province.

As the station’s website states, “TVO is Ontario’s public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires, and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO’s vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media.” The Agenda has been described as a program that “presents in-depth analysis and intelligent debate on issues of concern in the rapidly changing world around us.”

The participants on the five-member panel were:

From Thunder Bay:

  • Rebecca Johnson, City Councilor
  • Livio Di Matteo, Lakehead University Economics Professor

From Sudbury:

  • Rejean Grenier, Editor of Le Voyageur

Toronto TVO Studio:

  • John Beaucage, Union of Ontario Indians Grand Chief
  • Stan Sudol, Communications Consultant, Northern Life Columnist

To view the entire program click below:

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Northern Ontario Separation – by Stan Sudol

This article was originally published in the Sudbury Star on March 9 , 2002

Maybe it’s time for Northern Ontario to think about going it alone

In my 45 years of living in Ontario, I have never seen such a tremendous rift between its southern and northern halves. The corporate, media and political elites of Toronto have grown so out of touch with the economic hardships and challenges of the North that for the second time in my life I have come to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of Northern Ontario to secede from the south and form its own province.

When I was a teenager in the mid 1970s, I was sympathetic to the Northern Ontario Heritage Party. Ed Deibel, a North Bay businessman, unsuccessfully tried to separate from the south in order to establish social, economic and cultural justice for the distinct people of Northern Ontario.

Perhaps the time is right to revisit Ed Deibel’s worthy dream. A separate Northern Ontario would encompass approximately 85 per cent of the province’s land mass, using the French and Mattawa Rivers as the traditional boundary between north and south. With a population of roughly 838,812, according to the 2001 census, Canada’s eleventh province would be larger than New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland, and would be eligible for more money in federal equalization payments as a “have not province” than it currently receives from Queen’s Park.

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