Priorities lie elsewhere – by Carlos Santander-Maturana (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – April 17, 2013)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

I am quite disappointed with my area MPPs who voted to defeat Bill 43, the Mining Amendment Act, which would add value to our extracted mineral resources by ensuring that the ore and minerals remain in Ontario for refinement (Chronicle-Journal, April 12).

What is really disturbing is the fact that our region could have benefited by the capital investment, and therefore the job creation, in smelters and secondary economic activities so important to our weakened industrial economic base.

Compared to value-added manufacturing, the non-renewable natural resources sector requires far fewer workers per $1 million-worth of output. Between 2001 and 2011, direct mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector employment increased by only about 90,000 while manufacturing employment dropped by 466,000.

Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, said the proposed legislation would have removed “flexibility” for the mining corporations interested in our natural resources.

I always thought that foremost in the priorities of government is to take care of our own interests, that the primary objective is to keep our people employed and able to pay the taxes needed to keep our communities going and our fellow citizens able to raise a family and afford a decent retirement in their old age.

Apparently, according to our Liberals MPPs, I got it wrong. Our resources are there to enrich extractive-oriented corporations and to provide work for somebody else, somewhere else.

Carlos Santander-Maturana
Thunder Bay

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