Every week until the election, The Expositor will be posing a question to each candidate in the Algoma-Manitoulin riding and publishing their responses in our newspaper. We have asked that the candidates restrict their answer to a 600-word limit. Otherwise, they are free to answer in any way they choose.
Many of Northern Ontario’s higher-paying jobs in rural communities are related to resource industries so the proposed Ring of Fire chromium ore extraction development, and the interest by one of the principal investors in locating its smelter in the regional community of Capreol, is potentially important for Algoma-Manitoulin.
The provincial Liberals have promised a $1 billion investment towards infrastructure to assist in the Ring of Fire development but with the proviso that the federal government must match this amount. In the event that the government of Canada chooses not to participate and with the understanding that this development represents an enormous number of jobs for Northern Ontario over a long time, is your party prepared for Ontario to “get it done and go it alone” in order to facilitate this development? What would be its approach?
The Ring of Fire is a promising project that could bring prosperity to Northern Ontario, but we should be careful on how we spend the taxpayer’s hard earned money. Given the importance and the amount of revenue that this could bring to the province (revenue that not only will benefit people in Northern Ontario but will help balance the budget) we will support infrastructure projects only if the lack of government action will stop this development from moving forward.
As an engineer working in the mining industry, I have seen some subsidies to big corporations that simply do not make sense. The taxpayer ends up paying for something that the corporation was going to pay for anyway because it will be profitable. The perfect example of this is subsidies for energy savings studies. When I was working for my former employer, we had to develop a cost-benefit analysis on an energy savings project for a mine in Northern Ontario. From our analysis we concluded that the mine was going to get a significant return on investment, a number that would make any business or company pay for the service and equipment right away. The energy savings from our project were enormous. It turns out that the mine was waiting for government approval to pay for the study since it qualified as an energy savings study. So the taxpayer ended up paying for a study that the mine was going to pay for anyway because it was very profitable.
This kind of behaviour is exactly what we want to change in our provincial government. It is time to have a party that cares for taxpayer money and I believe that the Libertarian Party can bring the change that we really need.
Another great example of the private sector stepping in is the construction of ice roads in the Northwest Territories. The ice road was built by a joint venture of mining companies (Diavik Diamond Mines Inc., Dominion Diamond Corporation, and De Beers Canada Inc.) operating in the area, and shared by many users, from exploration companies to tourism outfitters and aboriginal hunters of the region.
Needless to say, the Libertarian Party and I want to see the Ring of Fire to go ahead, we just prefer that the private sector moves this forward (as they will have the greatest benefit), but if it is a real showstopper, we want to assist to make it happen.
The Ring of Fire is one of the most promising mineral developments discovered in over a century on a scale that can only be compared to the great Sudbury Basin. This massive mining development project has a worth estimated at $60 billion and the potential to create thousands of jobs. Its positive effects will be felt across the North and all of Ontario and Canada for generations to come.
Investing in infrastructure is vital to developing the Ring of Fire. I am incredibly proud that under the leadership of Kathleen Wynne, the Ontario Liberals will invest $1 billion to develop infrastructure in the region.
Unfortunately, the NDP chose to put their own political interests ahead of Ontario’s North when they announced they would not support the budget. In saying no to the budget they said no to this $1 billion infrastructure investment, putting it at risk in favour of an expensive election.
The Ontario Liberals have taken action. The creation of a development corporation is bringing partners, and divergent industry interests, together to maximize the benefits of this incredible deposit, and make decisions on the route and mode for the infrastructure required to see this development happen. We also signed a historic regional framework agreement with the nine Mattawa member communities most proximate to the Ring of Fire. There is no question that these are both crucial elements to getting this project done.
We will continue to make the investments required to create jobs and grow our economy. Let me be clear: our $1 billion investment to build industrial transportation infrastructure will stay in place, but if we truly want to take advantage of this opportunity we need to ensure all communities can benefit. We need the federal government to step up and act. We need them to show that creating jobs and supporting the economy is truly a priority for their government. That’s why we’ve asked them to match our $1 billion infrastructure investment now so that important community access infrastructure can be built.
The Ring of Fire is a project of national significance, something the federal government has recognized on several occasions. They have also made infrastructure investments of the same scale in other provinces—$508 million to support the Alberta oil sands, $130 million to support the Northwest Transmission Line in British Columbia and over $6.3 billion in a federal loan guarantee to support the Lower Churchill Hydroelectric project in Labrador. We believe it’s only fair they do the same for Ontario.
The Ring of Fire presents a historic multi-generational opportunity to transform the region. We will continue to ensure mineral exploration and development grows our economy and that the Ring of Fire will be part of a bright and strong future for Northern Ontario.
The Ring of Fire, and other natural resource sector projects in Algoma-Manitoulin and across Northern Ontario, represents an enormous economic opportunity in the region. Projects of this size require strong action and planning from the government of Ontario. Yet, the current Liberal government has done nothing over the past five years to come up with a plan that will create jobs, build infrastructure and reduce the high price of electricity.
Northerners have seen the big announcements made by Liberals fail to materialize. Instead of a plan that could create thousands of jobs annually, this government has sat on the sidelines as companies and investors walked away from Ontario taking those good paying jobs with them.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Two years ago this same Liberal government announced they’d reached a deal with Cliffs to create jobs in Sudbury. But last year, Cliffs halted operations in Ontario after they couldn’t get Liberals to follow-through on their commitments. The reality is this Liberal government has done nothing for Northern Ontario and the only people profiting from the Ring of Fire are their lawyer and consultant friends in downtown Toronto.
Liberals have put Northern Ontario on the back burner for far too long. Industry is suffering, transportation services have been lost and Northerners are ignored.
More money for the Ring of Fire would have been a good step forward but we Northerners know this will be another broken promise. We all know that there is more mining activity in Northern Ontario than in the Ring of Fire. Yet this Liberal government has presented us with a plan that is completely contingent upon the Federal government matching funding contributions. The Liberal government has not put in a timeline or guarantee for this. It is obvious they are not serious about Northern economic development. This is not a reasonable plan.
As MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin, and NDP critic of Northern Development and Mines, I continue to work closely with all stakeholders, including industry, First Nations and Northern communities on a plan that works. As we all know, our Northern economy has suffered huge losses. In March 2013 I introduced Bill 43, the Mining Amendment Act (Resources Processed in Ontario).” This was a bill designed to stimulate job growth in Ontario by committing all resources extracted in Ontario to be processed in Ontario. My bill would have allowed for the creation of jobs not only at mine sites, but in refining and manufacturing sites across the province. We have smelting facilities operating in Timmins, and steel production facilities already operating in Hamilton and Sault Ste Marie. Instead of shipping the raw materials around the world to be processed, Ontario could have fulfilled the North American demand for steel on our own. With a massive mining development being proposed in our province’s far north, this was a perfect opportunity to not only grow our mining industry, but also to re-invigorate the manufacturing industry in Ontario. Yet, in April 2013, both the Liberal government and Hudak’s Conservatives voted it down.
Ontario’s New Democrats have a real plan that will deliver tangible results for everyone. Liberal mismanagement threatens to extinguish the Ring of Fire and other mining opportunities across Northern Ontario, Liberals cannot be trusted to develop our Northern Ontario economy.
We need a premier who believes that what the oilsands are to Alberta and potash is to Saskatchewan, the Ring of Fire can be to Ontario.
Returning Ontario as the No. 1 mining jurisdiction in Canada will require a premier who will end the uncertainty and indecision around prospecting, developing and mining.
Tim Hudak will be that premier.
In her pre-election rollout of $5.7 billion in loot-bag money she does not have, Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne attempted in vain to up the ante for those of us in the Northern netherworld with an all-in pledge of $1 billion for the Ring of Fire.
But, let’s be real. We’ve all read her playbook.
It’s straight from the Dalton McGuinty’s script. It begins with his very first promise in 2003 not to raise taxes, one that even came with a signed pledge not to raise taxes an iota without first holding a referendum.
It was only the first of many things the Liberals said just to get elected.
But, if you looked in the background, you’d see a Liberal candidate and school trustee named Kathleen Wynne taking notes for future use—like the election promise 11 years down the road of a billion dollars for the Ring of Fire.
So here we are.
Do you believe her now? The Liberals, after all, have a well-documented record of saying or doing anything to protect their own jobs, not your jobs.
The time has come to change the team that leads, and elect a party that understands the North and sees the Ring of Fire for what it is.
And that’s an economic opportunity of a lifetime.
The Ontario PCs understand this. Vic Fedeli, former mayor of North Bay, and our party’s finance critic when the House went dark for this election, has been to the Ring of Fire four times, talking to stakeholders, getting to the nub of the needs.
This campaign is a time for opportunity for Ontario. The choice is clear, and so is our message: Hope in on the way. This is a time to put on Ontario on the track.
This is a time to put the Ring of Fire on the world’s map.
Unlike the government, and certainly unlike the NDP, Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak has foreseen the obstacles and has a plan to clear the path to harvesting the vast resources of chromite, copper, nickel and zinc.
The Liberals, meanwhile, say you can’t get there from here, and are blaming the feds in a last-gasp attempt at deflecting a blame that lies squarely on their shoulders.
Kathleen is more interested in saving Liberal jobs than creating jobs in the North.
We see the North as a jobs mother lode.
The Ontario PCs, in fact, represents the only party with an action plan to create jobs, balance the budget and get Ontario’s economy working better.
Without question, as this election moves forward, the Liberals and the NDP carry the heavy can for why the Ring of Fire remains so dormant.
And so they should.
The NDP has supported the Liberals’ inaction on the Ring of Fire every step of the way. On their own, they are unrealistic, unaffordable and unprepared.
About 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay is a chromite deposit believed to be the largest in the world. But when Cliffs Natural Resources suspended its operation last November, and the $3 billion in investment that went with it, it wasn’t because they had second thoughts or believed the chromite wasn’t really there.
It was because the Liberals had no plan, no vision, and no commitment.
Only new leadership and new direction will deliver the promise of the Ring of Fire.
Tim Hudak and the Ontario PCs have the handle on both.