Archive | Northern Ontario Politics

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli ‘excited’ Northern passenger rail has been proposed – by Gord Young (North Bay Nugget – October 13, 2017)

http://www.nugget.ca/

he return of passenger rail service to Northern Ontario is among the many policy proposals Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives will be voting on early next month. “I’m very excited about this proposal,” says Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, noting the return of a viable passenger rail service is a “key piece” for the North.

He stresses, however, that a “viable plan” is required, noting the Ontario Northland Railway’s former Northlander passenger train is gone. “The Northlander was stripped by the Liberal government,” says Fedeli, suggesting the cars are no longer available and that a new train service be built from the ground up using Northern rail experts.

The provincial Tories have oft been criticized for advocating on issues related to the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) because of a proposal by the Mike Harris government to cancel the Northlander and a subsequent proposal to privatize other divisions of the Crown agency. Continue Reading →

Romano visits Ring of Fire – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – October 5, 2017)

http://www.saultstar.com/

As Sault MPP Ross Romano is headed to the far north to visit the Ring of Fire area and meet with First Nation communities, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. is keeping its line of communication open Noront Resources.

Romano left Thursday for the far north and is expected to return home Oct. 15. His plan, which he had talked about during the provincial byelection campaign, was to visit the region, tour the area and learn more about issues facing First Nation communities in the area.

His goals are to tour the area to get a full appreciation of the challenges the provincial government faces to develop the road and how to properly address the relationship with Indigenous communities. Continue Reading →

Could more autonomy hurt the north? One expert says yes – by Frank Giorno (Timmins Today – September 28, 2017)

https://www.timminstoday.com/

“For example, Manitoba established a university in its north in the 19th
Century, but in Ontario it took until the 1960s to start up a Northern
university. The decision was made in Queen’s Park,” said Robinson. “Queen’s
Park is keeping the University of Toronto’s mining school when it could be
more successful in northern Ontario.”

Robinson spoke about the success of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and
Services Association (SAMSSA) in promoting northern Ontario mining and
how Queen’s Park disagreed with its development.

TIMMINS — Striving for greater autonomy for northern Ontario comes with risk, says an expert who spoke at a conference on the state of the region. Devolved jurisdictions like Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland have not succeeded as proponents expected, said David MacKinnon, a former senior civil servant with the Ontario government’s Ministry of Finance who has also worked in Nova Scotia.

“The question to ask is whether devolution of power will lead to improved governance, or perhaps the opposite,” MacKinnon told conference-goers at a two-day conference held in Timmins by the Northern Policy Insitutute. “Devolution does have serious risks in my view.” Continue Reading →

Move more civil service jobs out of Toronto – it worked in Peterborough – by Rosemary Ganley (Peterborough Examiner – August 31, 2017)

http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/

Coming back from a Northern Ontario Business conference one day in 1986, Premier David Peterson asked his fellow passengers, including me, in the government aircraft: “Is there anything tangible that we can do to help northern and other regional communities that are suffering economically?”

I was at the time deputy minister of Northern Development and Mines and I said, “We could help them by transferring a lot of government jobs out of Toronto, which is booming, and into places that need them.” This prompted a series of meetings with him and senior Queen’s Park staff, the result of which was a decision to proceed with a number of transfers, including my ministry (to Sudbury).

Two years later I had moved to the Ministry of Natural Resources. I was informed that the MNR head office was also to be transferred and we should decide quickly on our preferred destination. The following day, my executives and I selected Peterborough and our recommendation went to the Premier and cabinet. Continue Reading →

Should Ontario Northland be the railroader for the Ring of Fire? – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 6, 2017)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Regional railway says it has the smarts, capability to serve James Bay mining camp

The Ontario Northland Railway (ONR) is ready to be a logistical player in the Ring of Fire, if and when an ore haul railroad is required.

Now that Queen’s Park has unveiled a road-building timetable to reach the Far North mineral deposits, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission president-CEO Corina Moore said the North Bay-headquartered Crown railroader has the ability to do the job.

“Ontario Northland remains interested in providing input on how we can provide rail support in the future with regards to the Ring of Fire,” said Moore in an email. She was responding to comments made by Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts, who hinted that the ONR could serve as the exclusive railroader to the Ring.

“When the Ring of Fire chromite market grows to a level requiring rail, Ontario Northland has the experience, technology, and capabilities to safely operate and maintain the rail infrastructure,” replied Moore. Continue Reading →

Battle for Northern Ontario raging 9 months before provincial election – by Robert Benzie (Toronto Star – August 26, 2017)

https://www.thestar.com/

The next provincial election is more than nine months away, but the battle for Northern Ontario is already raging. Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown, making his 27th trip to the region since taking his party’s helm in May 2015, gathered his caucus in Timmins this week to underscore that “the North matters.”

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne spent most of the week visiting remote parts of Northern Ontario, including First Nations, to tout her government’s latest efforts to kick-start the stalled Ring of Fire chromite mining project. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, whose party holds most of the seats there, has also kept the north on the front-burner in this final summer before the election, which will be June 7.

“Let’s face it: Northern Ontario has been ignored by the Wynne Liberals for far too long,” Brown, whose party leads the Liberals in most public-opinion surveys, told his caucus mates Friday. “They have left hardworking Northern Ontario families paying more and getting less,” he said, speaking from a podium emblazoned with a sign reading “A Voice for the North.” Continue Reading →

Brown critiques Wynne on Ring of Fire – by Emma Meldrum (Timmins Daily Press – August 28, 2017)

http://www.timminspress.com/

The Ontario Progressive Conservative leader spoke to the press from Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa on Friday. He suggested that Liberal leader Wynne address Ontario’s opioid crisis with an awareness campaign.

“Today, I want to announce here in Timmins that our Ontario PC caucus will introduce a bill calling for the Liberal government to invest at least ten per cent of their advertising budget this year into an opioid awareness campaign, and they should do this immediately,” he said.

Brown said government ads have skyrocketed, with $57 million being spent in this fiscal year. “They’re using taxpayer dollars to campaign, and the real purpose of government advertising is for a public good, and understanding this is a crisis where we need an education campaign. There’s a lack of understanding and awareness.” Continue Reading →

Fedeli slams Wynne over Ring of Fire – by Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles (North Bay Nugget – August 22, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement that the province will move ahead with building roads into the Ring of Fire is earning jeers from Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. Fedeli expressed frustration over the lack of concern for the North and empty promises over the last 10 years following Wynne’s announcement Monday.

“It’s simply election talk. She’s had 10 years to do something and now a few months before an election she’s making an announcement.” He said Wynne made a similar promise in 2014, but nothing was ever done.

“There’s actually been three funding announcements in support of the Ring of Fire and yet again, nothing has been done,” Fedeli said. “The latest was in the 2017 budget where there was no mention of the Ring of Fire, so where’s this funding coming from?” Continue Reading →

Far northern Ontario provincial ridings to be doubled (CBC News Sudbury – August 8, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Legislature to vote this fall to split current two electoral ridings into four in time for 2018 election

The Ontario legislature will vote this fall on adding two more ridings to the province. Over the spring months, an electoral boundaries commission traveled across northern Ontario seeking feedback from residents.

The panel was tasked with finding a way to better represent the Far North region at Queen’s Park. That region is currently divided into two ridings: Kenora-Rainy River and Timmins James Bay. In its final report published Tuesday, the commission recommends doubling the number of ridings to four.

The other ridings to be created would be Kiiwetinoong in the northwest, and Mushkegowuk in the northeast. Kiiwetinoong would be a mostly Indigenous riding, while Mushkegowuk would be mostly Francophone. Continue Reading →

Ontario Liberals’ plan for two new ridings could violate the Charter and cost PCs the election – by Josh Dehaas (National Post – August 8, 2017)

http://nationalpost.com/

Josh Dehaas is a Toronto-based freelance writer.

Ontario’s Liberal government will soon consider a proposal to add two new seats in northern Ontario. If you live in the south of the province, that should worry you. Your vote would count for less and your Charter rights might be violated. If you’re a Progressive Conservative, it could cost your party the election.

The Liberals set up the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission in May and asked them to fly around the north consulting on whether to add one or two seats to the electoral map in northern Ontario. The stated goal is to create what Attorney General Yasir Naqvi called “predominantly Indigenous” ridings.

The commission came back with their interim report last month and it states—surprise, surprise—that northerners would prefer adding two new ridings, instead of just one. While the public won’t see the final report until Naqvi makes it public, the plan put forward in the interim report is to chop two huge, far north districts into four, creating four new seats.  Two of the seats (Mushkegowuk and Kiiwetinong) would be majority-Indigenous, and one (Timmins) would be about 40 per cent Francophone. Continue Reading →

Romano critic of Northern jobs, Ring of Fire – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – June 9, 2017)

http://www.saultstar.com/

Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown made the announcement at Queen’s Park on Friday, updating critic roles for his caucus.

“As our newest MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, I’m looking forward to having Ross Romano work hard every day for Northern Ontario families and as part of the PC caucus,” said Brown in a press release. “Ross won a riding that the Ontario PCs have not won in 30 years due to his hard work and commitment. Given his background in serving his community as a city councillor, I know he will dedicate his efforts at Queen’s Park to bring about positive change.”

Romano, whose resignation as a city councillor will be formally accepted by council Monday, said he welcomes his new role, especially because his campaign focused on the need for good paying jobs in Northern Ontario and the need to move forward with infrastructure to prepare for the Ring of Fire development.

He expects to be formally sworn in as the city’s MPP in the next few weeks. Continue Reading →

Ontario North’s woes stump ministers – by Gord Young (North Bay Nugget – May 13, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Provincial cabinet ministers were unable to offer municipal leaders any solutions Friday to the long-time challenge of growing Northern Ontario.

Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault and Natural Resources Minister Kathryn McGarry participated in the “bear pit session” at the annual Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) conference in North Bay, where they were asked about how to bridge the gap between the Greater Toronto Area, which is experiencing tremendous growth, and the North, where the population is declining in most areas.

Unfortunately, the three couldn’t provide a cure-all for the North’s woes. “We can do a lot more to talk about promoting growth and expansion in Northern Ontario by utilizing the facilities that we already have,” said Thibeault, referring to post-secondary institutions such as Canadore College and Nipissing University. Continue Reading →

Report urges new thinking for Northern Ontario – by Staff (Sudbury Star – May 9, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

New thinking is needed if Northern Ontario is ever going to restructure and reinvigorate its economy, a new report from the Northern Policy Institute suggests. Author Charles Conteh, a Brock University professor, said in his study, Economic Zones of Northern Ontario: City-Regions and Industrial Corridors, that Northern communities must be given the tools to control their economic development.

He said the top-down approach of senior levels of government towards Northern Ontario hasn’t — and won’t — work. “Due to the significant diversity between communities in Northern Ontario, policies and planning aimed at addressing specific economic challenges are more valuable than one-size-fits-all, top-down programs,” Conteh said.

“Economic zones offer an opportunity for upper levels of government to frame a new kind of partnership guided by the priorities of communities.” Conteh said it’s a mistake to think of Northern Ontario as one or two regions, or as five urban-centred regions, because they do not reflect the reality of northern diversity. Continue Reading →

Column: ‘Quick fix’ budget leaves Ontario’s North behind – by John Vanthof (Sudbury Star – May 3, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

John Vanthof is the NDP MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane.

The Kathleen Wynne government released its latest budget last Thursday, and it is disappointing to say the least. The first thing that struck me was the Liberal government’s continued refusal to stop the sale of Hydro One. Their reasoning is disturbingly clear: The Liberals are using the one-time proceeds from the sale of Hydro One to balance the government’s books.

Even worse, the government has lost more than $1 billion of revenue; these funds are now going to private investors who have bought 30 per cent of Hydro One shares. Going forward, this revenue will continue to be lost every year to private interests, instead of funding the programs and services that Ontario taxpayers rely on.

While the government has proposed to lower the hydro rates by decreasing delivery charges, this plan is funded by the taxpayer through government borrowing. Ultimately, you and I will continue pay the full hydro bill and resulting interest on this government’s debts. Continue Reading →

LACK OF RING OF FIRE DEVELOPMENT AN EXAMPLE OF THE FAILURE OF LAZY ECONOMICS ACCORDING TO ONE NORTHERN MP [Charlie Angus] – by Aaron Mahoney (My North Bay Now – May 2, 2017)

http://www.mynorthbaynow.com/

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains reaffirmed that the federal government is still committed to the Ring of Fire project during a recent trip to North Bay. The Ring of Fire project is expected to generate nearly $2-billion in tax revenues and up to 5,500 full-time jobs in the first 10 years of mining activity according to reports.

Bains and Nipissing-Temiskaming MP Anthony Rota called the Ring of Fire a process that will take time. However, Ontario’s provincial budget was released last week and contained no mention of the Ring of Fire which has lead to questions about its future. Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus was recently in North Bay for his Got Your Back tour while he vies for the leadership of the federal NDP party, and was asked about the development near his neck of the woods.

Angus says the Ring of Fire is a perfect example of the failure of lazy economics by the Wynne and Trudeau governments by showing a complete lack of interest in developing the chromite project. He says there’s a couple of steps that need to be done first in order to get the Ring of Fire going. Continue Reading →