Far North chitchat [about Far North Act] – by Jeff Labine (tbnewswatch.com – May 23, 2012)


Michael Gravelle has tested the waters to see if Northern First Nation communities wanted to join forces to manage areas covered in the Far North Act.

The Minister of Natural Resources met with representatives from Northern First Nation communities at the Travelodge Hotel on Wednesday. The group spent the day discussing a potential joint body in regards to the Far North Act where First Nation communities would have more input on policies.

The Far North Act, which was passed in 2010, represents 42 per cent of Ontario or 450,000 square kilometres and applies to public lands in the Far North but not to First Nation communities or to federal, private or municipal lands.

In order to manage development plans better, the province implemented a community based land use initiative with the intent to have direct input from First Nation communities.

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QUEEN’S PARK – In advance of a trip to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association’s Annual General Meeting with Tim Hudak, Northern Development and Mines Critic Norm Miller demanded that the Minister explain his government’s lack of progress in the region during Question Period on Tuesday.

“We have at our fingertips one of the most lucrative resource finds in our province’s history,” Miller explained. “The government is eager to talk about the Ring of Fire and boast about the Ring of Fire, but won’t take any action beyond expanding an already bloated and uncoordinated bureaucracy.”

In his question to the Minister, Miller also asked about the lack of progress on the proposed road to the mining sites.

“This is such a basic requirement,” Miller argued. “If we can’t access it, we can’t mine it. Communities, miners, and First Nations groups are waiting. They’re getting impatient, and rightfully so. The government has been spinning its wheels for far too long.”

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Ontario PCs slam Bisson for not defeating the Far North Act – By Ontario Progressive Conservative new release (Timmins Times – March 27, 2012)


PC Norm Miller said Bisson’s vote could have made the difference

While Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson is angry at the decision to sell off Ontario Northland, the PC Party is just as angry with Bisson for not voting to shut down the controversial Far North Act.

The move to repeal the Far North Act was put forward last week by Progressive Conservative MPP Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka), who argued the act is damaging to the North and goes against what most Northerners want.

“This is just another example of bad public policy rammed through by Mr. McGuinty without consultation or accountability to First Nations, municipalities and businesses whose lives and livelihoods have been changed – for the worse.”

Miller’s bill went to the legislature on March 22nd but the Liberals were joined by New Democrats in defeating the second reading of the bill with a vote of 50 to 36.

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[NDP Sarah Campbell] MPP calls for talks on changing Far North Act – by Bryan Meadows (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – March 24, 2012)

The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell is calling for more consultation on changes to the Far North Act, with a goal of replacing it with new legislation that is more acceptable to Northern Ontario residents.

“The Liberal government didn’t listen to northerners and First Nations in Northern Ontario when they introduced the Far North Act,” Campbell said, in introducing a motion, calling for consultations, to the provincial legislature this week.

“Getting this right will help create economic opportunities and job creation in Northern Ontario and make sure the benefits are shared with the people who live here,” she said.

Campbell’s motion also proposes additional funding for First Nations’ land use planning, a joint co-ordinating body between First Nations and government, a resource revenue-sharing model, and the end to the provision that allows the government to overrule land use plans completed by First Nations.

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March 22, 2012

QUEEN’S PARK – Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is extremely disappointed at defeat of Bill 44, the Far North Repeal Act, in the Ontario Legislature today.

The Private Members’ Bill put forward by PC Northern Development and Mines Critic Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka) would have removed the severe restrictions previously placed on development and exploration by the McGuinty government. However, Liberal and NDP members joined to defeat the Bill by a vote of 50-36 on Second Reading.

“I’m most upset that the NDP members across the North, many of whom have previously spoken out against the Far North Act in the past, decided to toe the party line instead of standing up for their constituents and voted against this,” Fedeli said.

“You really have to wonder how much influence these Northern members actually have in driving their party’s agenda.”

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McGuinty has made Ontario the land of mediocrity – by Randy Hillier (Calgary Herald – March 11, 2012)


Randy Hillier is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Lanark-Frontenac- Lennox and Addington.

As I was reading between the lines of the Drummond report, a penny dropped out from the political spin: Premier Dalton McGuinty’s message is that Ontario can no longer compete with the likes of Alberta or Newfoundland because we don’t have their natural resources.
And he is right in this regard; McGuinty has locked our resources away and they remain untouched. The premier has stated that Alberta’s resource wealth has been a burden on the Ontario economy. McGuinty ignores that Alberta’s resource sector would be the exact same as Ontario’s if they were faced with the same regulatory regime.
McGuinty has been too preoccupied crafting regulations that now exceed over a half million. Rather than accepting the word of their beloved environmental advisers, McGuinty and his Liberal government should spend more time discovering Ontario for themselves. If they did, they might actually realize Ontario’s true and vast natural resource wealth.

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Northern leaders frustrated by Queen’s Park ignoring Northern concerns – by Len Gillis (Timmins Times – February 22, 2012)

http://www.timminstimes.com/   lgillis@timminstimes.com

Some suggest inviting Premier McGuinty to a Northern Ontario summit

Northeastern Ontario’s municipal leaders, our elected voices across the North, are worried that their voices are falling on deaf ears at the higher levels of government.

The problem is so bad that Northern leaders are discussing whether to pool their money to hire professional lobbyists to speak out on behalf of the North at Queen’s Park.

The issue was debated at length this past week when the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) held its Winter-Spring meeting at the McIntyre auditorium.

The key concern is whether government is listening to Northern municipalities on such issues as severely limited logging in the Abitibi River Forest and the perceived need to protect caribou habitat. In both cases, the municipalities are worried that southern Ontario policies are being imposed on Northern Ontario without regard to the economic realities of the north.

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The “RING” Revisited: An update on Ontario’s famous “Ring of Fire” district – by D’Arcy Jenish – (Canadian Mining Journal – February/March 2012)

The Canadian Mining Journal is Canada’s first mining publication providing information on Canadian mining and exploration trends, technologies, operations, and industry events.

Richard Fink, Vice President, Technology, with Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources, is a mining industry veteran who knows that discretion is sometimes the better part of valour when it comes to discussing mineral deposits, and the business of putting them into production. Yet, he is eloquent and forceful when describing the potential of the company’s Black Thor chromite deposit and its nearby Big Daddy ore body, both located in northern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” mineral district.

“We have a set of major league ore bodies,” says Fink. “The discovery hole on Black Thor was only drilled in September, 2008 so the paint is still wet on this, but you couldn’t ask for a better project. It’s arguably the best open pit chromite deposit in the world in terms of tonnage, grades and mineable widths.”

He also foresees significant socio-economic spinoff if the discoveries can be turned into producing mines. Indeed, Cliffs is looking at estimated capital investments of $3 billion to build a mine and related infrastructure and the projects would create up to 1,250 permanent jobs.

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The [Far North Act] Colouring Book Government – by Livio Di Matteo (Northern Economist Blog- January 21, 2012)

Ontario Government Far North Act Coloring Book

Livio Di Matteo is Professor of Economics at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Visit his new Economics Blog “Northern Economist” at http://ldimatte.shawwebspace.ca/

Click Here for the: Far North Act Colouring Book

The Far North of Ontario and in particular, the Far North Act, has generated a contentious set of policy issues for Ontario’s government.  For the uninformed, the Far North Act is a process for community-based land use planning and development, that is also setting aside from development an interconnected area of conservation lands of at least 225,000 square kilometres — an area that is about 20 per cent of the landmass of Ontario.

To put it into context, it is an area about twice the size of southern Ontario — which represents only about 10 per cent of Ontario’s land mass.  There is concern about its impact on the long-term development prospects of Northern Ontario and the First Nations in the Region.  A response of the provincial government is that the Act has been misunderstood and needs to be better explained.

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Northern Ontario is to Southern Ontario is as Canada is to the United States – Well, almost… – by Livio Di Matteo (Northern Economist Blog – January 17, 2012)

Livio Di Matteo is Professor of Economics at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Visit his new Economics Blog “Northern Economist” at http://ldimatte.shawwebspace.ca/

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent comment that he does not want the future of the Northern Gateway pipeline to be decided by “certain” people in the United States who would like Canada to be one giant national park was remarkable in its parallels to the economic development situation in Northern Ontario. 

In the case of the Northern Gateway, along with opposition from environmental groups and some First Nations in Alberta and British Columbia, a number of U.S. based environmental groups accompanied by some Hollywood celebrities have voiced opposition to the plan.  In Northern Ontario, there have been complaints that the Far North Act and the Endangered Species Act will hinder northern development because of the wish of environmental groups in southern Ontario to turn the north into a vast provincial park.

The parallels are intriguing.  The relationship between Northern Ontario and the south is remarkably similar to that between Canada and the United Canada.  Relative to the United States, Canada is natural resource intensive and sparsely populated. 

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[Quebec Plan Nord] Is More Talk the Right Prescription for Northern Ontario? – by Livio Di Matteo (Northern Economist Blog – January 19, 2012)

Livio Di Matteo is Professor of Economics at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Visit his new Economics Blog “Northern Economist” at http://ldimatte.shawwebspace.ca/

Media reports on the visit yesterday by Quebec based consultants who worked on Quebec’s Plan Nord appear to have emphasized their prescription for more planning and discussion.  The Plan Nord is the Quebec government’s parallel to our own Northern Growth Plan and their plan to develop their own north with anticipated investments of 80 billion dollars and the creation of as many as 20,000 jobs. 

The Mayor of Greenstone was quoted as saying the time for talk had passed and some direct action was needed by the province in getting things going.  On the other hand, according to a report on TBNewswatch:

A pair of Quebec-based consultants, however, have suggested what’s needed is more talk.  It’s worked in Quebec, said Yvan Loubier, a senior consultant for National Public Relations in Quebec City, who has worked with both governments and communities in Northern Quebec to help facilitate a 25-year plan for economic salvation in an area hard hit by many of the same concerns afflicting Northern Ontario, particularly First Nations communities. It didn’t come easily, at least not at first.

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RepublicOfMining’s Stan Sudol interviewed about Far North Act on The Gary Doyle News Radio Show

570 News listeners have come to know the “Gary Doyle Show” as a voice for better living in the community. Each day from Noon to 3:00pm, Gary brings a non-controversial and non-confrontational approach to topics of lifestyle, money, health, finances and more. With the big news stories of the day in mind, Gary will also …

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Far North mischief – by Stan Sudol (National Post – December 7, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Is Ontario’s Far North Act anti-aboriginal?

De Beers Canada and its Victor diamond mine is currently in the media spotlight regarding the poverty in the nearby First Nations community of Attawapiskat. Many are questioning why the community is not significantly benefiting from this diamond mine, located on its traditional territory. The Victor deposit — which is the smallest of Canada’s four diamond mines — just started production in July 2008 and has an expected life of 11 years. The mine employs about 500 people, half of whom are of First Nations background and 100 come from Attawapiskat.

This controversy highlights the widespread problem of aboriginal poverty, much of which lies at the feet of Premier Dalton McGuinty, environmentalism and the product of this marriage — the much-detested Far North Act. Praised by the south’s many well-funded and powerful environmental movements, this legislation cuts off half of the Far North to resource development — 225,000 square kilometres or roughly 21% of the province’s land mass — and turns it into parks.

The horrific downside to this green ideology is that mineral exploration and potential mines — the only form of economic development that could reduce the impoverished, Third World living conditions in First Nations communities — is being reduced or stopped in the affected territory.

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Elephant In the Room: A First Nations perspective on the Far North Act – Stan Beardy (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – December 3, 2011)

The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

Stan Beardy is Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN). NAN is a political organization representing 49 First Nation communities across Treaty 9 and Treaty 5 areas of northern Ontario.

“The heart of First Nations’ objections to the [Far North] act
is the unilateral imposition of an interconnected protected
area of at least 225,000 square kilometres (about 21 per
cent of Ontario). This infringes on First Nations’
aboriginal and treaty rights as protected in the Canada
Constitution Act, 1982.” (Stan Beardy – Grand Chief  of NAN)

Stan Beardy – Grand Chief of NAN

I am writing in response to the commentary, Development, Protection; Far North Act Clarifies Land Use Planning (Nov. 21) by Ontario Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle.

It appears the Ontario government feels that there is still much convincing to do on an issue that continues to find First Nations and government on opposing sides. Truth be known, the Far North Act is currently being implemented in spite of the objections of First Nations.

The heart of First Nations’ objections to the act is the unilateral imposition of an interconnected protected area of at least 225,000 square kilometres (about 21 per cent of Ontario). This infringes on First Nations’ aboriginal and treaty rights as protected in the Canada Constitution Act, 1982.

The minister said in his commentary that “those who characterize this protected area as a vast park are irresponsible and certainly disrespectful of the First Nations.”

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The Horrible Reputation of Canada’s Mining Sector – by Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol is a Toronto, Canada-based communications consultant, mining columnist and blogger. stan.sudol@republicofmining.com

Biggest commodity super-cycle in the history of mankind

The future of mining has never been brighter, yet its image among the general population seems to have plunged lower than the famous Kidd Creek mine in Timmins, Ontario – the world’s deepest base metal operation. The largest rural to urban migration in the history of mankind is taking place in China. It has been often said, that China needs to build two cities the size of Toronto, Canada and Sydney, Australia to accommodate that growth, every year! Analysts estimate that China’s middle class is expanding so rapidly that it will soon overtake the current U.S. population of 312 million.

In October, 2011, the world’s population had passed the seven billion mark. India, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and many other developing countries are following China and urbanizing and industrializing their economies. Mining experts feel that over the next 25 years, we will need to dig out of the ground as many minerals as consumed since the beginning of mankind.

One of the biggest concerns is a shortage of skilled workers. In the next decade half the mining workforce in Canada is eligible to retire and there are significant difficulties attracting and engaging the digital generation.
According to the Ottawa-based Mining Industry Human Resource Council’s 2011 hiring report, the industry will need to hire betwee 75,280 to 141,540 new workers in Canada depending on the state of the global economy by 2021. Similar labour shortage issues exisit in other western mining jurisdicitions like Australia and the United States.

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