Harold Wilson is president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.
On Sept. 15, numerous business representatives, prospectors, municipalities and other organizations participated in a rally at Queen’s Park at a rally organized by First Nations to protest the proposed Far North Act.
The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce received unanimous approval in April from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce delegates on our resolution to have the act withdrawn.
Despite many other long-awaited government initiatives, such as the Northern Growth Plan and the Wood Supply Competition, the Far North Act is first on the agenda when the legislature convenes. Why is it such a big deal?
A group of dogmatic environmental “stewards” ensconced in the
premier’s inner circle, who do not know, nor care to know, how to
grow an economy, are dictating our economic future.
Mine exploration and development throughout northwestern Ontario is new money flowing into our economy. This is private sector money, raised from investors. Regardless of the diversified nature of our local economy, we benefit markedly by development of our natural resources. There are already important tangible examples of how increased exploration and prospecting is adding to the economy of Thunder Bay.
A few recent ones include: Activation Laboratories’ expansion, the expansion at WiskAir of its fleet of helicopters and now its hangar, the arrival of Porter Airlines, Cliffs Resources –a huge mining player in the U.S. — will soon be setting up shop in Thunder Bay. These activities are threatened by the Far North Act and other regulatory impediments to mining in our region.
Moreover, while government officials have stressed that this act is primarily to address issues expressed by the First Nations, the Far North Act is not supported by the First Nations leadership in Northern Ontario. In fact, they have already rallied against it.