Liberals committed to developing northern Ontario – by Rick Bartolucci

Rick Bartolucci is the MPP for Sudbury and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. 

The famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith said, “Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.” It’s a quality held by those who want you to forget the results of the NDP and the Harris/Hudak Conservatives during their respective years of governing Ontario.

I often say that in order to appreciate how far we’ve come, we need to remember where we’ve been. I recall what Sudbury endured during those years. I also know that the Ontario Liberals sprung into action once elected in 2003, determined to focus on our region. 

We have a strong northern caucus with three northern cabinet ministers who passionately advocate for northern communities on a daily basis. That commitment was recently evidenced as we launched the Northern Growth Plan and set aside $5 million to create a Northern Policy Institute to ensure northerners have a greater say in policy decisions affecting our region. 

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[Northern Ontario] Forest fight is electric – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun)

Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper. This column was originally published March 10, 2011.

Is the industry dead or is government a killer by implementing high hydro rates?

When it comes to electricity prices, New Democrats say Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro can’t see the forest for the trees. A sure sign that the Liberals are under pressure from the NDP in northern ridings is a spat that’s erupted over forestry.

Mauro, a Liberal, slammed the NDP in the Legislature on Monday, saying it’s wrong to blame high electricity prices for the demise of forestry in northern Ontario.

And he blamed the NDP’s campaign to lower industrial hydro rates for misleading northerners to believe that if rates were lower, jobs will come back. They’re deferring decisions to move to the oil patch or to go back to school, he said.

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Problems With Woodland Caribou Habitat Regulations – Roger Sigouin, Town of Hearst Mayor (February 23, 2011)


Hearst is a small community of approximately 5,600 people, located in northern Ontario, 935 kilometers north of Toronto The community is primarily dependent on the forestry sector. For a short history of the community, click:

•Despite previous concerns voiced by municipalities and their associations that point out weaknesses and omissions in Ontario’s Woodland Caribou conservation strategy, and despite our numerous collective attempts at dialogue and at becoming involved as partners in the formation of this recovery strategy, it is evident that nothing has changed in government policy or in Ontario’s direction towards regulation that to will ensure the survival of Northern Ontario communities alongside this threatened species

•Forest-based industries and/or mining are the lifeblood of the vast majority of Northern Ontario communities, but no socio-economic analysis has been undertaken to determine the potential impact of the caribou conservation strategy on such industries and Northern communities – yet Ontario is intent on forging ahead with habitat protection regulations 

•Regulations will be based on the conservation plan and recovery strategy, even though parts of both plan and strategy remain in dispute and the science has yet to be completed

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NEWS RELEASE: Building A Stronger Northern Economy: McGuinty Government Delivers Growth Plan For The North

Click here for: Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, 2011 

NEWS March 4, 2011

The 25-year Growth Plan for Northern Ontario will help create a stronger, more diverse and sustainable Northern economy.

This robust plan was developed with northerners for northerners. It will guide decisionmaking and investment planning in the region. To move the plan forward, the government will immediately:

  • Establish a Northern Policy Institute. The institute will play a key role in implementing and monitoring the growth plan
  • Develop a long-term strategy to create a more integrated transportation infrastructure system for air, rail, road and water.
  • Bring together northern community and business leaders to support regional economic planning, business innovation and entrepreneurship. This will help retain and attract investment in the North.

The growth plan is an important part of the province’s Open Ontario Plan. It will help attract people and investments to the region, support training, education and employment opportunities, create a highly qualified workforce and position the northern economy to compete on a global scale.

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Northern Mayors Task Force/Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) Policy Paper (February 28, 2011)

PRESENTATION to Minister Michael Gravelle, Ministry of Northern Development, Mines & Forestry

Submitted by: Northern Mayors Task Force Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA)

February 28, 2011
Toronto, Ontario

On behalf of the Northern Mayors Task Force and the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA), we would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.

Northern municipal governments are united in their aspirations for the future of those it serves. Northern municipal governments are tasked with building communities, balancing budgets and delivering a wealth of services. Our objectives are grounded in knowledge that much more can be accomplished when governments work together. We worked together to help weather the recent economic storm.

Although there are many important issues facing northern Ontario communities, we will focus on the following issues, which are of major importance to northern communities:
• Government legislation and policy
• The deterioration of the property tax base
• Infrastructure
• Energy
• Transportation


It is crucial to ensure that Provincial Policies and Legislation reflect the realities of Northern Ontario’s context in order to ensure that development is not inhibited. Currently, policy and legislation development are driven by the context of Southern Ontario rather than Northern Ontario’s context. Unlike Southern Ontario where growth management consists of trying to control and contain rapid growth, the North needs a plan to accelerate growth.

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Why Northern Ontario doesn’t change? – by David Robinson

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.  

Dave Robinson is an economist with the Institute for Northern Ontario Research and Development at Laurentian University. His column was published in the March, 2011 issue.

The straw that breaks the camel’s back is always a surprise. It is always a surprise when the worm turns.

It was a surprise when a popular insurrection began in Egypt, even though we all knew that change had to come some day. It is not a surprise that Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Minister Michael Gravelle has backed away from reform in the forest sector.

It is always hard figure out when the camel’s back is going to break or when the worm will turn. A whole new science has developed to help us think about sudden changes in eco-systems and politics. The science of change isn’t very encouraging when we apply it to Northern Ontario.

Resiliency theory is a branch of “dynamic systems analysis.” It is full of simple ideas dressed up for school. There are wonderfully weird terms like “state attractors,” “catastrophe folds,” and “metastable states,” “torus destruction” and “homoclinic bifurcations”.

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The Fable of the Ropes: Applied to Northern Ontario – by David Robinson

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.  

Dave Robinson is an economist with the Institute for Northern Ontario Research and Development at Laurentian University. His column was published in the February, 2011 issue.

Once upon a time there was a vast, resource-rich region – kind of like Northern Ontario. It was stuck in an old-fashioned development trap. You know, producing raw materials for other regions, with all the decisions being made outside the region, and almost all the revenue from selling off resources going outside the region.

One man was officially in charge of pulling the region out of that development swamp. He was in charge of all the forests and all the minerals. The Grand Minister of Mines and Forests struggled heroically to get the region moving. But nothing happened.

Unfortunately, the Grand Minister was relying on an outdated model of development. He was pinning his hopes on the Ring of Fire and on doing what the forestry companies want. After flirting with change, he backed away from increasing community control and putting wood in the hands of small local producers. It looked like he’d been hog-tied by the big companies.

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Sudbury-based Crossworks Manufacturing is the largest cutting and polishing manufacturer in North America – by Adelle Larmour

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. This article was published in the February, 2011 issue.

Sudbury diamond polisher sparkles

Would you believe that one of the largest diamond cutting and polishing facilities in North America is in Sudbury? While consumers view the stunning array of diamonds in the jewelry display cases, Crossworks Manufacturing Ltd., a cutting and polishing manufacturer headquartered in Vancouver, is busy working behind the scenes.

This unassuming, low-profile Sudbury facility prefers to fly under the radar because of the nature of its business and the millions of dollars of product with which it deals. Thirty of its 32 employees in Sudbury came from Vietnam and have a minimum of 10 years experience, further emphasizing the value of the product and the importance of accuracy.

Crossworks’ two Canadian cutting and polishing factories survived the global financial crisis that left other diamond manufacturers bankrupt. It now has the only cutting and polishing game in the country.

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Sudbury Better Off With Vale – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star)

Carol Mulligan is a reporter for the Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

For an informative six-minute interview between Sudbury Star staff and Vale top executives, John Pollesel, chief operating officer for Vale’s North Atlantic operations and Jon Treen, general manager of Vale’s Ontario operations click here:

Sudbury Better Off With Vale

There is no question in John Pollesel’s mind that Sudbury is better off with Vale running its largest mining company than it was in the old days of Mother Inco.

Vale’s chief operating officer for the North Atlantic doesn’t necessarily agree with Industry Minister Tony Clement’s opinion that Sudbury would have become the “Valley of Death” if Brazil-based Vale had not purchased it four years ago.

“Inco on its own, without somebody coming in, it would have been a tough go, there’s no question,” Pollesel said Tuesday.

When you look at the $2 billion Vale will invest in its atmospheric emissions reduction project in Sudbury, and its total projected investment of $3.4 billion to the year 2015, “We needed an investment of capital here, and that’s something that Vale has provided,” said Pollesel.

The Vale executive, who took on new duties as chief operating officer with Vale in Canada and the UK last October, participated in a 75-minute editorial board meeting with The Sudbury Star.

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Top 10 Business Issues With Legal Implications for 2011 – Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

The foregoing was provided by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, the largest Canadian full-service law firm focusing on business law, litigation and intellectual property solutions. BLG provides bilingual services in virtually every area of law, and represents a wide range of regional, national and multinational organizations. For further information, visit

As we look ahead into 2011, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s commitment and drive to understand our clients and to achieve the best possible results for our clients is top of mind. We are dedicated to anticipating issues and sharing effective, timely solutions in a constantly changing regulatory and business environment. And this is what we forecast.

1. The Big Bang – collision of public companies and social media – has happened. Now what?

This year, we can expect to witness the continued explosive proliferation of social media use in Canada, and certainly, the investor relations world is not isolated from it. That creates challenges for organizations that don’t want to run afoul of proper disclosure regulations.

Several months before Twitter was even created, Bill 198 was passed in Canada giving investors a statutory right to act against public companies, for material misrepresentations made in public disclosure and for failure to disclose material changes in a timely manner. In a post-Twitter world, in which many companies actually use the 140-character tweets as a formal communication channel, managing public disclosure is exponentially more complex. The nature of social media is mostly quick, interactive and short, and it sometimes provides material out of context, creating a potential for reflexive, off-the-cuff responses. That’s a perfect recipe for a disclosure disaster.

Given that the social media genie is not going back in the bottle, what public companies need to do to protect themselves and to ensure they are treating their shareholders fairly when it comes to disclosure is going to be key this year. BLG lawyers can describe the issues, and prescribe the necessary behaviour, online and off.

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Whither Ontario? Reconsidering a Narrative of Economic Demise – by Dimitry Anastakis

Dimitry Anastakis teaches in the Department of History at Trent University (Peterborough). His first book “Auto Pact: Creating a Borderless North American Auto Industry, 1960-71,” won the 2007 J.J. Talman Prize as the best book in Ontario history. Prior to Trent, Dr. Anastakis was a Senior Advisor in the Governemnt of Ontario’s Automotive Office, and a Fulbright Chair in Canadian Studies at Michigan State University.

Let us, for a moment, pity poor Ontario. 

The litany of affronts, indignities and embarrassments over the last two decades is long and inglorious:  Free trade agreements hoisted upon it; careening business cycles and a roller-coaster dollar; wrenching and radical changes in government; ever-increasing taxes and an end of cheap power; never-ending sporting failure and Olympic disappointment (twice); separatist movements in the North, city-state rumblings from Toronto; mayors who provoked blizzards of national mockery; massive power failures to ice storms to G20 fiascos. 

All have ruthlessly descended upon the province and its capital like a series of Biblical plagues, not to mention a real plague—SARS—in 2003. 

In the last two years, Ontario hit rock bottom.  To add insult to injury, in 2008 it was announced that Ontario would qualify for equalization.  Then, in the summer of 2009, the auto industry, the province’s industrial cornerstone, went bankrupt.  When the smoke cleared from the economic meltdown, the province’s deficit was $25 billion.  Once Confederation’s frugal accountant, the province is now derisively referred to as “Ontari-owe.”  Economically, it’s a basket case. 

Pity, however, is not so charitably given in some quarters.  For all its woes, there exist longstanding resentments of Ontario’s prosperity, built into the very DNA of Confederation.  For quite a few Canadians, Big Bad Ontario, which long lorded its exalted economic status, is finally being knocked from its pedestal. 

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Ten Major American Mining Disasters- by Ron Delfs

This interesting list of major American mining disasters came from environmental scientist Ron Delfs’ blog on Environmental Science Degrees

The recent attempts to rescue 33 trapped miners from the San Jose Mine in Copiapo, Chile have once again brought mining safety concerns to the forefront of our consciousness. Earlier this year, the United States experienced its worst mining disaster in 40 years when 29 miners were killed in Montcoal, West Virginia during the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion. Regardless of whether the site is located in a first world or developing country, mining has always been an extremely dangerous job in which the risk of death is ever-present. Since the beginning of the 20th century, thousands of Americans have been killed in mining accidents. Here are 10 major mining disasters that occurred in the states. The high death tolls are indicative of an era of carelessness and primitive technology.

1. Scofield – 1900
Utah’s first great mining disaster, the Scofield Mine disaster, became America’s worst at the time. At least 200 miners were killed as an accumulation of coal dust caused a massive explosion that was said to have thrown a miner standing near the opening of the mine 820 feet. The state cleared the mine operators of blame and the Pleasant Valley Coal Company continued operating for 23 more years.

2. Monongah – 1907
The Monongah explosion of West Virginia is the worst mining disaster in American history, resulting in the deaths of 362 miners. The sole survivor was Peter Urban, who suffered the death of his twin brother and died in a cave-in 19 years later. The disaster is said to have been caused by the ignition of methane, which led to the ignition of coal dust. It’s unknown how the methane was ignited, but it has been theorized that a dynamite blast or open lamp may have been to blame.

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Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet - Susan IoannouTwo Excerpts from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press


To mollify sea deities,
ancient lapidaries prescribed
blue amulets carved from aquamarine
whose inner lapping soothed
and as seasoned sailors believed
wore away the dark coast of worry.

Others cast their woes inside the gem,
then soaked it in a little bowl
beneath the waning moon.
Perhaps within a day or two
where crystals cooled and brittled
a six-rayed star would fan and twinkle
love light toward a long marriage,
restore youth, hope, and friends,
or calm a throbbing tooth.

Today Brazilian pegmatites
host the clearest and the bluest,
named (her birthstone) Santa Marias.
A famous one, unearthed in 1910,
was heftier than a bongo drum:
110.5 kilograms
—an amulet with cleansing tears enough
for a thousand sailors
not to drown.

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Nationalization Is Theft – by Thomas A. Bowden

Thomas A. Bowden is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, focusing on legal issues. Mr. Bowden is a former lawyer and law school instructor who practiced for twenty years in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ayn Rand Center is a division of the Ayn Rand Institute and promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand–author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Venezuela, Russia, and other countries that nationalize natural resources are violating private property rights.

For years, the Canadian operator of a huge Venezuelan gold project known as Las Cristinas has been seeking an environmental permit to start digging. Well, Crystallex International Corporation can stop waiting–the mine is being nationalized as part of dictator Hugo Chavez’s long-running program of socialist takeovers. “This mine will be seized and managed by a state administration” with help from the Russians, said Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz.

It’s not surprising that a brute like Chavez would want to grab the 16.9 million ounces of gold estimated to lie buried in the Las Cristinas reserve. But what’s more puzzling is why–when gold mines, oil rigs and refineries worth billions of dollars are nationalized by regimes such as Venezuela and Russia–the ousted companies can muster no moral indignation, only tight-lipped damage appraisal.

The reason, in a nutshell, is that resources like gold and petroleum in their natural state are universally regarded as public property that cannot be extracted by private companies except with government permission, revocable at will. “Venezuela will not accept that foreign organizations tell them what to do with their own resources,” said a local journalist recently.

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