Archive | Timmins

The Northern Ontario Showdown – by Kevin Vincent (Timmins Today.com – May 15, 2011)

Kevin Vincent is publisher of  www.timminstoday.com, Timmins #1 media web site.

I’ve been wrestling with this topic for several days and I’ve decided, what the heck, it needs to be said. Timmins successfully hosted close to 300 northern Ontario political dignitaries at the annual FONOM (Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities) conference at the McIntyre Arena last week. From the outside looking in – several things are crystal clear.

First, many northern municipal mayors, reeves and councilors are not thrilled with Queens Park these days. Trust me, there are more who are pissed off at Queens Park than meets the eye – they have to walk a fine line because stating your true feelings in an open and public manner can backfire. The hand that feeds is also the hand that slaps.

I’ll get to Tim Hudak and Rick Bartolucci in just a minute – but first I want to say a few things about “the lay of the land”. There is ample evidence that environmental groups have their claws firmly dug into the skin of the ruling party. Municipal leaders, industry leaders, and First Nations leaders are collectively screaming about a boatload of new legislation designed to control the day to day lives of northerners and the industries that sustain them. They are not happy. And they have every reason to be upset. Continue Reading →

POV: Political parties start to woo Northern [Ontario] voters for fall provincial election – by Wayne Snider (The Daily Press – May 16, 2011)

Wayne Snider is the city editor for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at [email protected].

Then there is a true wildcard in place for the fall election: The Northern Ontario
Heritage Party. Their message is that Northern Ontario needs to take over control
of the economic future of the region because Queen’s Park — when coloured by
any of the tradition mainstream political stripes — simply wants to take wealth
from the North to feed the heavily populated south. (Wayne Snider, May 16, 2011)

Off and running

Last week’s Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities conference was held to deal with municipal issues impacting the North. It turned into a launching pad for provincial election campaign debates. Anyone who wasn’t expecting the conference to be so politically charged, hasn’t been paying attention.

FONOM has been gaining a louder voice in the past few years. That’s because Northern municipalities have had a lot of concerns to voice. It seems Northern leaders have had an endless stream of provincial policies and legislation to contend with, many of which have been contentious.

The Far North Act, the Endangered Species Act (caribou protection), forestry tenure and now the Northern Growth Plan have caused municipalities to wave red flags, as our leaders fear more harm than good is being done to the Northern economy.

It is through groups like FONOM, the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association and the Northern Mayors’ Task Force that the voice of the North has been raised to the level where it is at least being heard.

But there is a huge difference between hearing and listening. Continue Reading →

POV: Northern Ontario speaks up clearly with one united voice – by Wayne Snider (Daily Press – May 13, 2011)

Wayne Snider is the city editor for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at [email protected].

During the past 20 years, the North has seen its influence on Queen’s Park diminish.
It’s now at the point where municipalities feel powerless and ignored. … Like residents,
Northern leaders have had enough of being treated like insignificant pests. … The upper
tiers try to milk as much wealth from the region as possible, while giving back as little as
possible. It has become a savage, sadistic economic ballet. (Wayne Snider – May, 2011)

The annual conference for the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities wraps up at the McIntyre Community Centre Friday. With cabinet ministers and various other politicos in town, usually the North anxiously awaits the message delivered by the big, bad province.

This year, however, the tables are turned. With an important provincial election looming, political parties should listen to what Northern leaders have to say.

During the past 20 years, the North has seen its influence on Queen’s Park diminish. It’s now at the point where municipalities feel powerless and ignored. Hence the start of the “speaking with one voice” campaign, where Northern leaders approach the government with a united front on key issues. Continue Reading →

Mining matters to North Bay, but perhaps not to McGuinty – by John R. Hunt (North Bay Nugget – 2010)

The North Bay Nugget, established in 1907, is the daily newspaper for the northeastern Ontario community of North Bay. This column was originally published in 2010.

On the Rocks Column

Timmins is facing an economic disaster. Sudbury is still in a strike-bound mess. There is a tiny spark of good mining news not too far from North Bay but I am saving it until the end. The Timmins mess and Sudbury strike must be costing money in North Bay.

About 30 years ago I had an argument with some North Bay business types who challenged my contention that mining was important to the North Bay economy. I checked around and discovered about 800 people in the city were employed selling goods and services to the mining industry. A couple of years ago I read that it was then about 1,800.

Mining matters to North Bay. This explains why I blew my top last Thursday when I read and heard reports from Queen’s Park. A bunch of hopeful — and probably desperate — Timmins folk had gone to the big city to meet with Ontario’s beloved leader and assorted officials. McGuinty was their last hope. The Xstrata metallurgical plant is slated to close on or about May 1 and 670 jobs will go down the tube. Continue Reading →

[Ontario] Northerners fight back [against Queen’s Park] – by Wayne Snider (The Daily Press – May 2, 2011)

Wayne Snider is the city editor for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at [email protected].

With the resources available in Northern Ontario, there is no reason why we shouldn’t thrive socially and economically. Northern leaders need our support if we are no longer to be treated as a colony, whose wealth creation feeds the needs of the south.
(Wayne Snider – May 2, 2011)

Centralization of Northern Ontario to Sudbury and Thunder Bay leaves other communities out in the cold

Tired of largely being ignored and having legislation rammed down their throats without any meaningful consultation, municipal leaders from across Northeastern Ontario are getting ready to fight back.

Members of the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) will devote the lion’s share of their next meeting to developing a lobbying and marketing strategy for the North.

Tired of being force fed a steady diet of legislation that negatively impacts their communities — such as the Far North Act, the Northern Ontario Growth Plan and changes to the Endangered Species Act — our leaders realize the time has come to get the message out to not just the government in Queen’s Park, but all Ontarians. With a critical provincial election coming up in the fall, it is now do or die time for the North. Continue Reading →

Order halts [mineral exploration] drilling [on traditional FN territory] – by Kate McLaren (The Daily Press – April 30, 2011)

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins.

First Nation gets court injunction

The community of Constance Lake First Nation (CLFN) has obtained an injunction to stop a mineral exploration company from drilling on traditional territory. The order was imposed Friday in the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto.

“This is a victory for us,” CLFN Chief Arthur Moore told The Daily Press Friday afternoon. “We’re very happy to have this time in the interim to go back to the negotiating table.”

The injunction was filed against Zenyetta Centures Ltd., a company in association to Cliffs Resources. Cliff Resources is involved in the Ring of Fire mineral discovery. The company has been prohibited from drilling until May 9 and have been ordered back to negotiations with the First Nations community. Continue Reading →

Northern [Ontario] leaders unite through FONOM – by The Daily Press

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins.

Municipalities speaking ‘with one voice’ on provincial issues

Municipal leaders in Northern Ontario have formed a united front on provincial issues impacting their communities. Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) president Al Spacek, mayor of Kapuskasing, announced Thursday the organization is concerned with the impact legislation has had on the North.

“What do imposed Royalty Taxes on Diamonds, the Far North Act and the Caribou Conservation Plan have in common?” he asked. “The answer: They were based on limited consultation and little regard for the opinions of Northerners.

“In this provincial election year, it is important that the FONOM board speak with one voice on behalf of the citizens of Northeastern Ontario, and concerns about resource sharing and legislative policy development that affects the North should be voiced, so that they directly benefit the taxpayers of the North.” Continue Reading →

Call for separate [Ontario] North – by Ron Grech (The Daily Press – April 20, 2011)

Ron Grech is a reporter for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at  [email protected]

City council rejects idea

A deputation by a former Timmins councillor promoting the idea of Northern Ontario separating from the rest of the province had several current councillors squirming in their seats this week. “If Quebec can have a vote to separate from Canada, surely we can have a referendum vote to separate from southern Ontario,” said Don Collins, who served for many years as a Timmins councillor.

Collins cited several measures at Queen’s Park which he felt points to the provincial government’s disconnection from Northern Ontario. They included the cancellation of the spring bear hunt and a proposal to reduce resource industries’ access to Crown forests in order to protect woodland caribou.

“I ask council if they could pursue this matter.” Collins’ remarks received a strong endorsement from one councillor – Pat Bamford. “I’m very supportive of Northern Ontario as a separate province,” Bamford told council following Collins’ presentation. Continue Reading →

Reform revolt: [Northern Ontario] Opposition to Bill 151 grows – by Ron Grech (The Daily Press- April 13, 2011)

Ron Grech is a reporter for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at  [email protected]

During a week when the Ontario professional foresters are gathered in Timmins, the province is taking it on the chin over plans to reform forestry tenure.

Both the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) issued statements Wednesday condemning the government over Bill 151 — The Ontario Forest Tenure Modernization Act.

The day before that, Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson challenged Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Minister Michael Gravelle over what the local MPP felt was a lack of consultation being conducted in Northern Ontario.

The government recently rejected calls for public consultation meetings in the North. Instead, it opted to hold two meetings — both of them in Toronto. Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: Holding [Northern Ontario forestry] tenure hearings only in Toronto ludicrous, disrespectful – by Ron Grech (The Daily Press-April 5, 2011)

Ron Grech is a reporter for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at  
[email protected]

It is yet another show of disrespect and a slap in the face to Northern
residents. Is it any wonder that Northerners’ disdain for Queen’s Park
and the current provincial government is at a near-boiling point?
(Ron Grech-Daily Press, April 5, 2011)

After gaining the Ontario forest industries’ support on the prickly subject of tenure reform, the provincial government lost it again because of contentious wording in the draft legislation that passed second reading just over a month ago.

As it is currently worded, Bill 151 would empower the government to revoke a wood allocation if “the party holding the agreement, licence or commitment is not optimally using the forest resources.”

The industry is concerned that allocating forestry licences based on subjective interpretations of optimal or preferred use opens the door to political pressure.

Nonetheless, Ontario Liberal government seems intent on not only shooting itself in the foot, but severing it off altogether. Continue Reading →

Ramblings of alarmist activists fall on deaf ears here in North [Ontario] – by Ron Grech (Timmins-The Daily Press-March 25, 2011)

Ron Grech is a reporter for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at  
[email protected]

What we see again is an alarmist message from special interest groups aimed at
justifying extreme measures that will impact the lives and livelihood of people in
Northern Ontario. Northerners have a natural inclination to bond and care for the
health of their surroundings. Why else would they choose to live here and raise their
families here? (Ron Grech – March 25, 2011)

With the Darlington public hearings beginning last week, activists were provided an opportunity to push their agenda thanks to an earthquake and tsunami setting off a nuclear crisis in Japan.

Proponents for refurbishing of the nuclear facility pointed out the two circumstances are very different. The fact is half of Ontario’s power comes from nuclear plants and they have operated for more than 30 years without incident. The province does not sit on a fault line, so facilities here do not encounter immense earthquakes and tsunamis the way they do in Japan.

But that type of reasoning washes over the public when people are captivated by a disaster and uneasy about bringing it close to home.

Northerners can’t help but watch this discussion in southern Ontario without being mindful of how they have been affected by knee-jerk alarmism and governments swayed by public pressure and half-truths. Continue Reading →

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Chief’s gather in Timmins to discuss resources – by Kate McLaren (The Daily Press, March 24, 2011)

Kate McLaren is a reporter for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at [email protected].

“The government has a responsibility to protect First Nations people, and it’s their
duty to consult. That duty should not be given to the industries themselves, unless
it’s agreed upon through talks between First Nations people and government officials.” 
(Raymond Ferris – Ring of Fire co-ordinator for Matawa First Nation)

As First Nation chiefs from 49 Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) communities gather this week for the 2011 Winter Chiefs Assembly, the theme of the conference — Our Land, Our Resources — reflects current frustrations in First Nations communities.

“The discussions are centred around resource development, as it applies to both the written and spirited intent of Treaty 9,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “A hundred years ago, we signed a treaty that gave us peaceful and shared land, and said we would share in any wealth generated from that land.”

The conference, which began on Tuesday and concludes Thursday, features various presentations. Beardy said one of the highlights was the discussion around proposed mining developments in the Far North.

“The focus is around the implementation of these various treaty rights. We’d like the government to be more respectful of those rights.” Continue Reading →

North [Ontario] disrespected by urban dictatorship – by Wayne Snider (The Daily Press, March 22, 2011)

Wayne Snider is the city editor for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at [email protected].

“Show us [Northern Ontario] the respect we deserve. The urban dictatorship is destroying
the beautiful cultural mosaic that makes our country unique — and great.”
(Wayne Snider, March 22, 2011)

Recently, the Town of Cochrane sent a strongly worded letter to Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey. The topic of discussion was the Ontario government’s plan to protect massive

amounts of land in the North — stretching from the Manitoba border to James Bay — from future resource development under the Endangered Species Act in a bid to re-establish the range of the woodland caribou.

In a nutshell, the town said it would not consider supporting the policy unless:

* Northern municipalities and First Nation communities are given the chance to provide “meaningful consultations” on the issue;

* A socio-economic assessment — overseen by the province and the Federation of Northern Ontario Mayors — is done to determine the impact of the legislation; Continue Reading →

Governments should fund railroad to Ontario’s Ring of Fire mining camp – by Stan Sudol

Temiskaming & Northern Ontario Railway at the turn of the last century

This column was published in the March 17, 2011 issue of Northern Life.

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant who writes extensively on mining issues. [email protected]

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

“In the next 25 years, demand for metals could meet or exceed what we have used
since the beginning of the industrial revolution. By way of illustration, China needs to
build three cities larger than Sydney or Toronto every year until 2030 to accommodate
rural to urban growth.” (John McGagh, Rio Tinto – Head of Innovation)

Commodity Super Cycle is Back

The commodity super cycle is back, and with a vengeance. China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and many other developing economies are continuing their rapid pace of industrialization and urbanization. In 2010, China overtook Japan to become the world’s second largest economy and surpassed the United States to become the biggest producer of cars.

During a recent speech in Calgary, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of Canada remarked, “Commodity markets are in the midst of a supercycle. …Rapid urbanization underpins this growth. Since 1990, the number of people living in cities in China and India has risen by nearly 500 million, the equivalent of housing the entire population of Canada 15 times over. …Even though history teaches that all booms are finite, this one could go on for some time.”

At the annual economics conference in Davos, Switzerland, held last January – where the most respected world leaders in politics, economics and academia gather – the consensus was one of enormous global prosperity predicting that, “For only the third time since the Industrial Revolution, the world may be entering a long-term growth cycle that will lift all economies simultaneously…”

John McGagh, head of innovation, at Rio Tinto – the world’s third largest mining company – has said, “In the next 25 years, demand for metals could meet or exceed what we have used since the beginning of the industrial revolution. By way of illustration, China needs to build three cities larger than Sydney or Toronto every year until 2030 to accommodate rural to urban growth. This equates to the largest migration of population from rural to urban living in the history of mankind.”

The isolated Ring of Fire mining camp, located in the James Bay lowlands of Ontario’s far north, is one of the most exciting and possibly the richest new Canadian mineral discovery made in over a generation. It has been compared to both the Sudbury Basin and the Abitibi Greenstone belt, which includes Timmins, Kirkland Lake, Noranda and Val d’Or.

Continue Reading →

Commentary on Mining Watch: Ring of Fire Report – by Stan Sudol

  

Map Courtsey KWG

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant who writes extensively about the mining industry. [email protected]

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

“In the next 25 years, demand for metals could meet or exceed what we have used
since the beginning of the industrial revolution. By way of illustration, China needs to
build three cities larger than Sydney or Toronto every year until 2030 to accommodate
rural to urban growth. This equates to the largest migration of population from rural to
urban living in the history of mankind.” (John McGagh, Rio Tinto – Head of Innovation)

Mining Watch Reputation 

Mining Watch was established in 1999 in response to the actions of Canadian exploration companies operating in Latin America and other jurisdictions in the developing world.

As stated on their website, “MiningWatch Canada … addresses the urgent need for a co-ordinated public interest response to the threats to public health, water and air quality, fish and wildlife habitat and community interests posed by irresponsible mineral policies and practices in Canada and around the world.”

In contrast to many in the mining sector I find a few of Mining Watch’s criticism’s legitimate and they have worked cooperatively with the industry in Ontario. In 2008, Mining Watch in conjunction with the Ontario Mining Association supported the amendment of the Ontario Mining Act that enabled companies to voluntarly rehabilitation mine sites even thought they had no legal requirments to do so. 

Recently, Mining Watch has issued a report titled, “Economic analysis of the Ring of Fire chromite mining play”. It was written by former Sudbury resident and well-known social activist Joan Kuyek. While the report covers a wide range of topics, I would like to focus on some important issues that have been downplayed or omitted, primarily the current state of mining, geo-politics and a history of enormous wealth creation from the mineral sector due to government infrastructure support.  Continue Reading →