NDP: MNR job cuts threaten vulnerable northern communitiesThursday, October 04, 2012 by: SooToday.com Staff
NDP: MNR job cuts threaten vulnerable northern communities
QUEEN’S PARK – Today in question period, northern NDP MPPs called on Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle to stop cutting jobs across northern Ontario.
“Last week the Ministry of Natural Resources unveiled some of its Transformation Plan, which includes significant cuts to jobs, parks and the long-standing Ontario Ranger Program,” explained Natural Resources Critic Sarah Campbell.
Campbell’s riding of Kenora-Rainy River has been affected by recent cuts in other government programs and ministries, and now faces more job losses from MNR cuts.
“For the past number of months northerners have been on edge, worrying about whether the cuts will hit their communities. Because in a northern community like Ignace, with a population of 1000 or 1500, the loss of only a few jobs can have a devastating effect on the local economy,” said Campbell.
“Nipigon Mayor, Richard Harvey, has said that he has had personal assurances from the Minister that the MNR office in his town will not be closed. My question to the Minister is simple: can he provide the same assurances to small towns across the northwest that are outside of his riding?,” asked Campbell.
Campbell was followed by Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, whose riding made national headlines when the Algo Centre Mall collapsed in Elliot Lake in June.
“People in northeastern Ontario are also outraged with this decision, which once again suggests we are second class citizens in this province,” said Mantha.
“This summer the Premier visited Elliot Lake following the tragic collapse of the mall and he committed to helping rebuild the community and the local economy,” explained Mantha. “Since the mall collapse, Elliot Lakers have experienced drastic job losses, unemployment and an uncertain future.”
The mall was at the centre of Elliot Lake’s economy.
The recovery prospects for the former mining town are unclear.
“Now we have learned that they are closing Mississagi Provincial Park, resulting in further job losses in our community and across the North. Is this the government’s idea of helping out Elliot Lake and other northern communities?,” asked Mantha.