Northern political banner flying in the south – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – September 20, 2011)

 The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at news@thedailypress.ca.

Northern Ontario Heritage Party fielding three candidates, including one in Toronto

While the Northern Ontario Heritage Party didn’t reach its goal of having candidates in all 11 Northern ridings for this provincial election, it managed to make some progress.

The NOHP has three candidates in the election. Charmaine Romaniuk will represent the party in Kenora-Rainy River and Gerry Courville in Timiskaming-Cochrane.

The biggest surprise is that there will be a NOHP candidate in the heart of Toronto. David Vallance will carry the Northern Ontario banner in the riding of St. Paul. NOHP Leader Ed Deibel said a group in Toronto approached him about fielding a candidate.

“I thought it might not be a bad idea,” he said. “They are closer to all the media based in Southern Ontario, and could get information about Northern Ontario out there.” But having the Toronto group conduct research is a key component to their involvement in Northern politics.

“FONOM (the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities) asked the Ministry of Finance for an audit of Northern Ontario,” Deibel said. “The Minister (Dwight Duncan) said he couldn’t do it. That’s ridiculous.”

Deibel’s concern is not only with the potential amount of wealth available in the North, but how that could be leveraged into economic growth.

“All I want to find out is what they (the provincial government) is putting in the North and what they are taking out of the North,” he said. “We have about $2 trillion worth of raw resources. But we keep shipping out our resources in raw form. That material is processed, smelted and manufactured into products — and that’s the real wealth.”

Deibel guesses that the true value of the resources — followed through to finished products — is closer to $10 trillion. But without research, that figure remains just a guess.

That’s where the St. Paul group comes in. Deibel said they will be be helping the party get answers.
“We don’t know the full value and the true potential of what we produce,” he said. “I know we are paying over $7 billion in federal and provincial taxes. But it could be more.

“The only way to grow the Northern Ontario economy is to go into research and development and manufacturing.

“We are denying our people jobs by shipping our resources out. The people in Northern Ontario are struggling and we have the resources available to make it prosperous.”

Deibel said the situation should be a major concern to everyone in Northern Ontario. Which is one of the reasons the lack of response to the NOHP was surprising to him.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.thedailypress.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3304443

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