Northern Chambers of Commerce challenge province’s Far North Act – by The Timmins Daily Press (September 10, 2011)

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

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 Far North Act affects us collectively and
individually, and we want to ensure that it is
carried out in a responsible and inclusive manner
that respects all northern groups – be they
businesses, municipalities or First Nations.”
(Julie Denomme, vice-chair of the Greater Sudbury
Chamber of Commerce)

The province should reconsider how development is handled in Ontario’s Far North if it is to properly serve the region’s communities, First Nations, and business, according to the Chambers of Commerce of Timmins, Sudbury, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie.

In a joint statement issued Friday, the four chambers agreed that the Far North Act, as passed by the Ontario government in October 2010, fails to consider the needs of those who are most affected by it.

The province’s stated goal of protecting “at least” 50% of the 225,000 square kilometres that make up the Far North was reached without consultation with the region’s First Nations who, through this legislation, are being forced to set aside portions of their land for protection.

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Ontario’s Provincial Election and the North: What Is the Issue? – by Livio Di Matteo (September 9, 2011)

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

“Indeed, the most innovative set of Northern policies ever
proposed in my living memory was the Peterson government of
the 1980s which set forth three planks: the Northern Ontario
Heritage Fund, Northern Health Travel Grants and a program
of decentralization of provincial government offices to the
north.  Since then, there has really not been articulated
any similar set of innovative strategic and concrete
nitiatives for the North.” (Livio Di Matteo, Sept/9/2011)

As the provincial election campaign begins, undoubtedly the need to articulate northern issues will be an important one.  The conventional wisdom would probably argue that the most important issues are jobs and the economy, followed by health care.  A glance at the “northern platforms” of the three parties certainly would suggest that the economy is an important focus and there are indeed some similarities across the three main parties when it comes to the economy.

The New Democratic Party argues the North has been ignored by the provincial government and is pledging “respect for the North. ”  Its northern policy wants to hire more doctors for under-serviced communities, remove the HST from home heating and electric bills, cap gas prices, create a Northern Ontario legislative committee to address Northern issues and change laws so mining companies must process their raw materials in the province (incidentally, something similar was done a long time ago in Ontario for logs harvested on Crown lands under the rubric of the Manufacturing Condition). 

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Failing [Aboriginal] kids in our [Ontario] north – (Toronto Star Editorial – September 10, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

A coroner’s inquest into a suicide routinely results in recommendations for more accessible, comprehensive and better funded mental health services. Ontario’s examination of the suicides of 16 children on a northern First Nations reserve is no different on that score. It’s Ontario deputy chief coroner Dr. Bert Lauwers’ call for other things — things so basic that they shouldn’t need mentioning — that really make his report stand out.

Access to clean water. Indoor plumbing. A decent school. How can communities without such basic necessities still exist in Ontario? The level of poverty and deprivation in the fly-in community of Pikangikum First Nation, 100 kilometres east of the Manitoba border, is appalling. It helped to create such deep despair that children, like the 12-year-old boy who hanged himself from a poplar tree outside his grandmother’s home and a 16-year-old girl who hanged herself with a shoelace in the laundry room, could see no way forward.

The coroner’s 100 recommendations are not just a blueprint to stem the dramatically high suicide rate of First Nations children and youth in northern Ontario. They are an indictment of the conditions that Ottawa has allowed to persist for far too long.

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Northeastern Ontario Chambers Joint Policy Statement About Far North Act-Bill 191

A joint statement by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce on the Far North Act – Bill 191.

The provincial government introduced the Bill 191 for First Reading on June 2, 2009. The Act passed Third Reading on Sept. 23, 2010 and received Royal Assent on Oct. 25, 2010. Its purpose is to permanently protect at least half of Ontario’s Far North for the “sustainable development of natural resources” as well the preservation of biological diversity and ecological processes.

The legislation puts forward a process for community-based land-use planning that will ultimately set aside at least 21% of the province’s total landmass, or half of the Far North’s 450,000 square kilometers, in an interconnected network of protected areas. The region reaches from the Manitoba border in the west to James Bay and Quebec in the east and north along a line several hundred kilometers north of Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Hearst and Cochrane.

This area contains 24,000 people spread across 34 communities (31 of which are First Nations). It is also host to the socalled “Ring of Fire,” an area of potential significant mineral wealth that includes a world-class deposit of chromite,deposits of nickel and other base and precious metals. It is expected that $1.5 billion will be spent over the next 10 years to develop this area in advance of mineral extraction.

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Shoe on the other foot for Thunder Bay’s Gravelle – by Adam Radwanski (Globe and Mail – September 9, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

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

THUNDER BAY – For most of his political career, Michael Gravelle has been seen as a fighter for his hometown of Thunder Bay – a little guy, literally and figuratively, standing up to those who would neglect Ontario’s Far North.

This fall, he’s fighting charges that he’s the one doing the neglecting.

Such is the mixed blessing of spending the past four years as Northern Development Minister for a government perceived not to have done enough to develop the region. So what was once one of the safest Liberal seats in the province is now up for grabs, with Mr. Gravelle one of several northern Liberal MPPs fighting for their political lives.

But who the real contenders are in Thunder Bay-Superior North, a sprawling riding that includes half of northwest Ontario’s largest city and some more far-flung communities, is less clear.

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Horwath plays to Northern [Ontario] discontent – Anna Mehler Paperny (Globe and Mail – September 9, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

THUNDER BAY – Over 19 hours and 3,300 kilometres, Andrea Horwath laid out her battle plan for Ontario’s north.

The region was home to some of the closest-fought races of the 2007 election. This year, the parties are going at it again. Their game plan? To duke it out over who is the best champion of a recession-hit region that tends to feel politically disenfranchised and far removed from Queen’s Park.

So Ms. Horwath, campaigning on a platform of average-Joe discontent, has a receptive ear to complaints of neglect.

“We can create a future for the North that creates good jobs. But it won’t happen by sticking with the made-in-Toronto status quo,” she said Thursday. “We are shipping away logs and we are buying back the sawdust. It makes no sense. And we can do better.”

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Mill closures will haunt Liberals – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun – September 01, 2011)

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

THUNDER BAY — The battle in Northern Ontario for the hearts and minds of voters in the Oct. 6 election is being waged on many fronts here.

It’s about forestry and wood allocations. About mining and resources. And the Far North Act, which critics say will strangle development and turn economically-productive forestry and mining areas into parkland.

Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Mike Gravelle is the Liberals’ Minister of Northern Development. He’s taking flak for making changes to the wood allocation system — the lifeblood of mills.

Like many others, the Buchanan Mill in Atikokan was idled following the housing downturn in the U.S. and was recently put into receivership.

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Far North Act – David Pearson (Northern Ontario Business – September, 2011)

David Pearson is a professor of earth sciences and science communication at Laurentian University. He can be reached at

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business

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

Hold it Mr. Hudak, hold it, let’s talk about this: “A Tim Hudak government will repeal Bill 191, the Far North Act, which effectively turns the North into a museum by banning development and killing potential jobs.” And while we’re on the subject we should add a comment that appeared in the last edition of this paper: the “First Nations hate Bill 191.”

Central to the Far North Act (Bill 191) are 31 isolated First Nation communities scattered across almost exactly half of Ontario’s land area reaching up to the coast of Hudson Bay. With a total population of just 24,000, of whom half are 16 or under, many families rely on fish, geese, and caribou they catch and hunt for themselves in their communities’
traditional territory. Without those communities there would not be a Far North Act.

The Act sets up a framework for communities to work with the Ontario government in developing land-use plans for their traditional territories based on the values, culture, and aspirations of the members of each community. The Act was also designed to enable communities to benefit from resource development through arrangements and on terms that are acceptable to the community and not simply driven by first-come, first-served external pressures.

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Tories roll out Northern Ontario platform – Star Staff (Sudbury Star – July 15, 2011)

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

A Progressive Conservative government would hold one cabinet meeting a year in Northern Ontario and fork over a portion of the taxes generated by new mines to northern municipalities.

A PC government would also let Northern Ontario’s towns and cities decide how they should develop and grow, the party’s candidate for Nickel Belt said Thursday.

“I’m hoping that every Northerner will read what the (Tim) Hudak government has planned for the future of the North,” Peroni said in a release.

“They will clearly see that changebook North is the result of listening to thousands of northerners in our Have Your Say Ontario survey, that it protects the Northern way of life and that it keeps wealth in the North.

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NEWS RELEASE: Tim Hudak and Ontario PCs Only Party Listening and Delivering for Northern Ontario Families

July 14th, 2011


THUNDER BAY — Today, Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak released changebook North – the Party’s specific commitments to Northern Ontario families to build stronger communities and create Northern jobs. While Dalton McGuinty listens to Southern Ontario special interests to create policies that simply don’t work in the North, only Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Party have been listening to and delivering for Northern Ontario families.

Any policy to create jobs and ensure a strong future for the North has three questions at its core: Does it originate in the North? Does it protect the Northern way of life? Does it keep wealth in the North? Only if the answer was “yes” to all three would we include it in changebook North.

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Ontario Mining Act and Far North Act upsets Aboriginal groups…any many others – by Gregory Reynolds

This article appeared in the Winter 2010-11 issue of Mining Life & Exploration News (Canada’s Quarterly Mining Magazine)

Ontario has a new Mining Act and also a special law intended to protect 225,000 square kilometres of the Boreal Forest, the Far North Act. Then why are so many people unhappy with these pieces of legislation?

Basically because many Aboriginal organizations, environmental watchdogs and mining groups believe when the verbiage is stripped from the core of the two laws, they leave total control in the hands of the government.

Many argue both the mining sector and Aboriginals are worse off today than before the process started to protect the industry while respecting constitutional rights and Treaty obligations involving natives. There is a saying, the legislature passes laws but the devil is in the regulations created by bureaucrats.

It is the process that will lead to the regulations under the acts that have many organizations concerned today and worried about tomorrow.

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Master Plan To Destroy Northern Ontario – by Gregory Reynolds (Highgrader Magazine – Summer 2011)

This column was originally published in the Late Summer, 2011 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.

The recent annual meeting of Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) heard a great deal of comment, and concern, expressed about the Ontario government’s love affair with Greater Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Speakers claimed these two cities appear to be favoured when the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty doles out assistance to the North.

That the two largest centres are special, even privileged, should not have been a surprise to those in attendance.

Members of Timmins city council should have been least surprised since famous prospector, and equally famous outspoken advocate for Northern Ontario, Don McKinnon presented each of them with two documents in 2004: The Master Plan to Destroy Northern Ontario; and Addendum to The Master Plan to Destroy Northern Ontario.

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Liberals set to go mining for votes in Ontario’s north – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun)

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 big question to ask Northern Development Minister Mike Gravelle when he unveils his long-awaited Northern Development Growth Plan Friday is this: Is this really about jobs, development and good health and education services for the North?

Or is this a last-ditch pitch by the Liberals to shore up their fortunes in a part of the province that has felt shunned and ignored for the past seven years?

The Conference Board of Canada released damning figures Thursday that reveal northern Ontario had the second slowest growth in the country — after northern Quebec.

Hard hit by the downturn in forestry and associated manufacturing, from 1999-2008, northern Ontario clocked only a 3% growth rate. Quebec’s was lowest overall at 2.2% — but neighbouring northern Manitoba’s growth rate was 12.2% and southern Ontario came in at 8.5%.

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Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resourses (MNR) – it’s time to talk – Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal Editorial – (August 6, 2009)

The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario. This editorial was originally published on August 6, 2009.

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

IT’S time that Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield sat down with Nishnawbe Aski Nation leaders and come to some sort of an agreement on the Far North Act. NAN’s Grand Chief Stan Beardy has blasted the provincial government over a perceived lack of consultation regarding Bill 191, which will set aside 225,000 square kilometres as a protected area within NAN First Nation homelands.

“Without (NAN’s) consultation, accommodation or consent,” Beardy stated, the legislation will effectively lock down the land to prevent First Nations – among the poorest people in Canada – from achieving economic independence by preventing the development needed to build healthy communities and help strengthen the Ontario economy.

While the government has launched committee meetings on the legislation, NAN says there are no hearings set for communities in the far North portion of the province, the ones most affected by the legislation.

The closest the Standing Committee on General Government gets to the far North is at the Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay hearings.

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2011 Ring of Fire Update Speech – by Ontario MNDMF Michael Gravelle

This Speech was give by Michael Gravelle Minister Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry at the Thunder Bay Rotary Club (Port Arthur Division) on January 4, 2011.

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

Check Against Delivery

Thank you and good afternoon, everyone. It’s a privilege to join you once again. And, I am especially honoured to help launch Port Arthur Rotary’s New Year. On that note, let me offer to each and every one of you my most heartfelt wishes for good health and good fortune in 2011.

Today, I will update you on two of Ontario’s major initiatives:

(1) modernizing the Mining Act; and

(2) the Ring of Fire development in the Far North of Ontario.

Let me start with a brief progress report on MAM — Mining Act Modernization. As you know, the minerals sector is one of Ontario’s major economic drivers.

When we set out to modernize Ontario’s Mining Act, we wanted to strengthen our minerals sector through clear rules and regulations, as well as with streamlined administrative processes. Amending the Act will result in a more balanced approach to mineral exploration and development, and will help keep our mining industry competitive and responsive.

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