The Far North Act: A counterfactual – by Livio Di Matteo (Thunder Bay Chroncile-Journal – November 12, 2011)

Visit his Northern Economist Blog at

One of the analytical tools used in economic history to assess the impact of an economic event is the counterfactual. How different might the world be if an event had not occurred, and instead, an alternate economic reality occurred? The comparison is between the world today and the world as it might be.

I ask this question in the context of the Far North Act because of its potential impact on the future economic development of Ontario’s North and particularly the economic opportunities for the First Nations in the Far North.

While put forward as a process for community-based land use planning and development, the Far North Act 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.

The Far North is vast and potentially rich in economic resources. Its exploitation could serve as a source of economic development for a region that has been chronically depressed over the last few decades. While one might argue that the North is so vast that 20 per cent of its land is not really a significant amount, the fact is we do not know if the most valuable or least valuable parts of the region in terms of resource potential will be sequestered.

Read more

Quebec Le Plan Nord Compared to Ontario – by Livio Di Matteo (November 10, 2011)

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

On my recent trip to Montreal, I picked up the November 2nd issue of La Presse and was amazed to find a twelve page insert dealing with stories and advertising on Quebec’s Plan Nord.  To put it in perspective, it would be like the Toronto Star deciding to devote a block of pages to the Northern Ontario Growth Plan.  Needless to say, the difference between the level of engagement in Quebec with its northern development compared with Ontario is astounding. 

When push comes to shove, Le Plan Nord is being sold as an investment frontier with implications for Quebec’s economic future.  The Northern Growth Plan in Ontario is really something that has only caught the attention of those of us in northern Ontario and even we don’t really know what it means because nothing has been fleshed out.

Le Plan Nord is looking at 33 billion dollars in investment in Quebec’s North – the area north of the 49th parallel – over the next 25 years to develop hydroelectric and mining resources. 

Read more

Lucky Sudbury, Far North Act and Mining Industry Terrible Image Speech – by Stan Sudol (November 8, 2011)

Stan Sudol gave the keynote address at the Ontario Prospectors Association’s 2011 Ontario Exploration & Geoscience Symposium – Sudbury, Ontario – November 8, 2011

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant and mining columnist.

Check Against Delivery

Sudbury: The luckiest city in Canada

It’s always great to get back to my hometown.

Way back in 1977, I worked for Inco at their Clarabell Mill complex for a year before going to college. And in 1980, I was a summer student replacement worker at their Frood-Stobie mine.

So I will always be a “Sudbury boy” regardless of where I live.

Without a doubt, Sudbury is this country’s epicenter of mining.

In fact, the Sudbury Basin is the richest mineral district in North America and among the top three hardrock mining regions in the world.

Only South Africa’s Witwatersrand gold region, and their legendary Bushveld platinum complex, can match the concentration and expertise of underground mining here.

We are the luckiest city Canada.

Read more

The Far North Act, Economic Development and the Aboriginal Future – by Livio Di Matteo (November 1, 2011)

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

The aboriginal population of Northern Ontario is growing at a much faster rate than the non-aboriginal population and faces a number of economic and social challenges.  Along with education and the acquisition of human capital, another source of future economic welfare improvement must be the employment opportunities associated with resource development in Ontario’s north. 

The Ring of Fire will likely be one such opportunity. However, the prospect of other future resource discoveries and associated economic development is now much diminished as a result of the Far North Act passed by the McGuinty Liberal government a year ago. This is unfortunate given the forecast increases in future demand for resources from the developing world – in particular, the Asia-Pacific region.

As a result of the Far North Act, some 225,000 square kilometers of Ontario’s far north will be off limits to resource development – an area that is roughly twenty percent of the province’s land mass.  While this action has ostensibly been done with the aim of protecting a large chunk of Ontario’s environmental heritage, it has not been welcomed by northern Ontario’s First Nations. 

Read more

[Aboriginal Mining] Ontario Far North Act: Reducing Aboriginal Poverty through Parks or Mines? – by Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant and columnist who blogs at: He can be reached at

Honourable Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper at the Agnico-Eagle Meadowbank Mine, Nunavut

There are many reasons that contributed to Premier McGuinty’s minority government in the recent Ontario election. However, one of the most contentious issues contributing to his decline in the vast regions of the North – an area that is seldom on the Toronto media’s agenda – was the much detested Far North Act. Praised by the south’s many well-funded and powerful environmental groups, this legislation cuts off half of the Far North – 225,000 square kilometers – to resource development, roughly 21 per cent of the province’s landmass and turns it into natural parks.

As they often say, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” 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 Nation communities – is being reduced or stopped in the affected territory.

A generation ago the destruction of the fur industry in northern Aboriginal communities by an aggressive, media-savvy environmental movement caused enormous economic hardships and contributed many social ills. Are McGuinty and his environmental thugs doing the same with their parks agenda? Is the Far North Act inherently “Anti-Aboriginal”?

Read more

Huge uncertainties remain with Ontario’s new Mining Act – by Shawn Bell (Wawatay News – October 27, 2011)

Wawatay News is Northern Ontario’s First Nation Voice with offices in Sioux Lookout, Timmins and Thunder Bay.

As the minister tasked with implementing the heart of the Ontario Mining Act takes over his new portfolio, the challenges facing that goal seem to be growing by the week.

The new minority Liberal government named Sudbury’s Rick Bartolucci minister of Northern Development and Mines, Oct. 20. Bartolucci replaces Thunder Bay-Superior North’s Michael Gravelle, the minister who brought in the new Mining Act.

The Sudbury MPP’s task of bringing in phases two and three of the Mining Act looks more daunting than ever after a month that has seen a new flare up over mining exploration on Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) traditional lands, a Supreme Court decision granting Grassy Narrows First Nations the right to reject mining exploration on its territory and Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy’s stance on any outside incursion onto northern Ontario First Nation land.

Read more

Extraordinary opportunities for economic development [in Northern Ontario] – by Shawn Bell (Wawatay News – October 27, 2011)

Wawatay News is Northern Ontario’s First Nation Voice with offices in Sioux Lookout, Timmins and Thunder Bay.

Michael Gravelle, Liberal MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, was re-elected for the fifth straight time in the fall 2011 election. Formerly the minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, Gravelle was shifted to his new role as minister of Natural Resources in the new Liberal cabinet.

Gravelle sat down with Wawatay News to discuss politics, the new mining act and opportunities for First Nation involvement in future economic development.

Wawatay News: Thinking back all those years to 1995 when you first ran, what made you think that politics is a venue to affect change?

Michael Gravelle: For some time I’ve felt that the role of a political representative is an important one. Being able to advocate and fight for your constituents, see them get the best possible treatments from governments is always something I believed in. As a very young man I began working in the political field by working as an assistant to a federal member of parliament who subsequently became a cabinet minister during the time of Pierre Trudeau’s prime minister-ship in the late 60s and 70s.

Read more

McGuinty mulls cabinet choices [MNDMF Minister??) – Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal Editorial (October 20, 2011)

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

PREMIER Dalton McGuinty will announce the makeup of his new cabinet today. The election took its toll on both former ministers and Liberal strength and this will likely be reflected in a leaner front bench.
Some ministers would appear to remain locks on their portfolios and Michael Gravelle at Northern Development is surely among them. If not, then who?

Seeking a third term with sinking pre-election popularity back in the summer, a number of ministers declined to run again. Most notable among those was Sandra Pupatello, the former economic development and trade minister, who said she needed new challenges after 16 years at Queen’s Park. One of McGuinty’s most impressive ministers, it would not be surprising to see her seek the party leadership when the premier steps down as expected before the next election.

McGuinty also lost other high-profile politicians prior to the vote, including ministers Monique Smith, Gerry Phillips, David Ramsay and Steve Peters, who was speaker.

Read more

Republic of – Stan Sudol CBC Radio Thunder Bay Ring of Fire Interview (October 11, 2011)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 CBC Radio – Thunder Bay   Superior Morning radio host Lisa Laco: “Stan Sudol has his own ideas about how to develop the Ring of Fire. Sudol authors the blog Republic of Mining:” This interview was the result of my “Mining Marshall Plan for Northern Ontario”. Click here to read: Mining Marshall …

Read more


For the web’s largest database of articles on the Ring of Fire mining camp, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Friday October 7, 2011


THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy congratulates Premier Dalton McGuinty and will continue to strive for a positive working relationship with the returning official government of Ontario and bring forward the issues affecting the people of Nishnawbe Aski.

“NAN is mandated to work with all political parties and all levels and therefore we will continue to push for meaningful dialogue with the elected officials of Ontario,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy.

Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals managed to secure a third straight mandate, but fell just shy of a third straight majority. The Liberals had won 53 ridings, one short of the 54 needed for a majority. The Liberals had captured 37.6 per cent of the popular vote, with the Progressive Conservatives close behind at 35.4 per cent. NDP support was at 22.7 per cent.

Read more

Northern [Ontario] leaders are determined to be heard – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – September 27, 2011)

 The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at

“The North has the potential to be one of the wealthiest
regions in the world. Yet we are not permitted to realize
the full benefits of our natural resources — while the
federal and provincial government rake in big time tax
revenues. (Wayne Snider – Timmins Daily Press)

Tired of being ignored by provincial politicians

Municipal leaders in Northeastern Ontario are hungry for political change at the provincial level. But the change they desire is over and above what happens in the Oct. 6 election.

They want the North to be taken seriously in Queen’s Park. It is a tall order, given the fact that only 11 of the 107 seats in the provincial legislature are based in Northern ridings. In terms of voting support, which is what political parties really care about, the North isn’t a significant player at the provincial level.

That is why policies — such as the Far North Act and the Endangered Species Act — get pushed through despite vocal protests from Northern municipalities. Both of these acts will limit economic growth in the North.

In the case of the Endangered Species Act, specifically the protection of caribou habitat in areas where the animals haven’t been seen for 60-80 years, it will mean economic regression for the forest industry.

Read more

Bright future for mining [Northern Ontario] – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – September 24, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

For the web’s largest database of articles on the Ring of Fire mining camp, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

“Mining is on the agendas … But, that’s because the southern
Ontario manufacturing economy is in serious trouble. While our
major customer (the United States) will probably be going through
a most troubling economic time the next decade or so, the only part
of the Ontario economy that is doing well is the mining sector.”

Sudol said not having a low-enough electricity rate could be the
deal breaker for Cliffs Natural Resources locating its proposed
chromite processing plant in Ontario. “Right now, power rates in
Manitoba and Quebec are 40- 60% lower than Ontario … There’s no
way they are going to locate that refinery in Ontario.” (Mining
strategist Stan Sudol –

AT ISSUE: What is the vision for mining in Greater Sudbury and Northern Ontario?

Chris Hodgson has good reason to believe things are looking up — way up — for Ontario’s mining sector. That’s primarily because the Ontario Mining Association’s recent vision paper and its 10 recommendations about what the mining sector wants addressed by the province is getting serious attention in the Ontario election.

“It’s a big difference,” he said. “In the late 1990s, it was a sunset industry. Now, it may be the key to getting us out of the hole financially.”

A former minister of Northern Development and Mines in the Mike Harris Progressive Conservative government from 1995-99, Hodgson has been president of the OMA for seven years. The association has 70 members who operate 40 mines and employ 20,000 people.

Read more

K.I. vs. Platinex: a ‘worst case’ example of community relations – Canadian Business Ethics Research Network

The Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN) aims to promote knowledge-sharing and partnerships within the field of business ethics and across private, governmental, voluntary and academic sectors. CBERN also aims to support work from inception to dissemination, from graduate student research and fellowship opportunities to promoting the projects of established professionals.

For the web’s largest database of articles on the Ring of Fire mining camp, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery


•This section presents the now-infamous case in light of the previous discussion of the Aboriginal context to mining in Ontario, and the importance of community consultation in advance of resource development.

On December 14th, 2009 the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry (MNDMF) announced that an agreement had been finalized between the McGuinty Government and Platinex Inc. to settle the junior mineral exploration firm’s litigation against Ontario and the K.I. First Nation (see MNDMF, 2009). This agreement included a $5 million payment to Platinex upon the release of its mining claims in the K.I. traditional territory and the guarantee of a royalty of 2.5% of any future resource revenues from those lands.

The settlement officially ended a dispute that began nearly ten years earlier, exacerbated tensions between Aboriginal communities, the province, and the mining industry, cost millions in legal fees, billions in potential revenue, led to the jailing of six K.I. community members, and changed the lives of hundreds of others who call K.I. home. How did things go wrong in K.I.?

Read more

Liberals come out swinging – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 10, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

For the web’s largest database of articles on the Ring of Fire mining camp, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The Liberals were the first party to offer a plan for the north and they will expand upon it if they are re-elected Oct. 6, says Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci.

A key component of the Grits’ Forward. Together plan is to make the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. a permanent fixture so future governments can’t abolish it, and to boost the fund from $100 million to $110 million.

It has created more than 16,000 jobs in eight years and will create 4,000 more per year for the next four years if the Grits are re-elected, the Sudbury MPP says. Bartolucci also vowed his party would facilitate at least eight new mines in the next 10 years and provide more family health care to underserviced areas of the province.

The Liberal incumbent was flanked by Nickel Belt Liberal candidate Tony Ryma and Timiskaming-Cochrane Liberal hopeful Denis Bonin at a news conference Friday to unveil the plan.

Read more

More questions than answers in Far North Act – by the Sudbury Star Staff (September 10, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

For the web’s largest database of articles on the Ring of Fire mining camp, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and chambers of commerce from Timmins, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie are calling on the provincial government to address five key issues relating to the Far North Act that will provide more detail and make it friendlier to business.

The chambers issued a joint statement Friday calling upon the party that forms the next government to address what they call weaknesses in the act.

The act sets out a process for community-based land use in the north. First Nations, Northern Ontario municipalities, mining companies and business organizations fear the loss of growth opportunities and the creation of investment uncertainty if parts of the act are not clarified, the chambers said in the statement.

“Over all, we agree with the act and we like it and we see there’s value,” said Julie Denomme, vice-chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.

Read more