There'll be lots and lots of this aheadMonday, September 16, 2013 by: SooToday.com Staff
With political observers expecting a provincial election next spring (if not sooner), the major political parties will continue slugging it our for the hearts, minds and, of course, ballot support of voters.
Today, the PCs issued the news release immediately below.
It's followed by responses from not one, but two, Liberal cabinet ministers.
Hudak: a champion for Northern jobs and resources
THUNDER BAY – “Northern Ontario is the next frontier, the expanding edge of Ontario’s economy, but it will only reach its full potential with a Premier who will be a champion for northern jobs and resources,” PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
Hudak made the comments following a meeting with Northern Ontario business leaders at the launch of the latest Paths to Prosperity: A Champion for Northern Jobs and Resources – the 14th PC white paper on strengthening our economy.
“Just over a decade ago, Ontario was ranked first in the world for mining. Under the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals we’ve plummeted to 17th,” said MPP Norm Miller, Northern Development and Mines Critic. “Great opportunities require action, responsible development and long-term planning. The PC plan will make Northern Ontario a mining powerhouse again,” Miller added.
“This government’s decisions have been politically motivated to appease special interest groups instead of being based on science,” said MPP Laurie Scott, Natural Resources Critic. “This has cost us jobs in agriculture, housing development, tourism and resource based sectors like forestry. It is time to restore the balance in Ontario.”
There is a better way and it starts with a government approach that understands and respects the North.
As Premier, Hudak vows to take up the cause of the North by:
• Taking immediate action on the PC plan to develop the Ring of Fire – a once-in-a-century opportunity that will drive new jobs and investment
• Balancing the needs of threatened and endangered species with the needs of people who earn their living off the land by ensuring environmental legislation adheres to science – not political motivation
• Giving Northerners more control over the use and management of their land and wildlife.
“I see a North of great destiny. A Northern Ontario that is going to drive renewed prosperity right across Ontario,” concluded Hudak. “The future prosperity I see will be built on development and job creation in the North for the North.”
View and share the Paths to Prosperity papers at this website.
Statement from: Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines
“Mr. Hudak simply doesn’t know the facts.
"Our commitment is clear - we are going to continue to support economic growth throughout Northern Ontario by investing in people, investing in infrastructure and by supporting business to help create jobs.
"Since 2003, our government has invested more than $890 million through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to leverage $3.2 billion in investment, creating and sustaining 23,000 jobs.
"Through the Northern Highways Program, over $5 billion has been invested to rebuild bridges and strengthen vital links across the North.
"This includes critical four-laning projects which ensure the safety of those travelling on our roads remains a priority.
"Our government continues to build on this strong record.
"In the past few months alone, we have opened the first Law and Architecture Schools in Northern Ontario and created a new $100 million fund to support rural and northern communities to build roads and bridges.
"In the 2013 Budget, our government announced $500 million to support Northern Highways, $100 million for the NOHFC to support job creation and extended the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program to continue our support for industry, creating a strong environment for them to do business in.
"In the last 10 years alone, 23 new mines have opened with eight more set to come online in the next few years.
"There are tremendous opportunities coming to the North that will significantly benefit not only our region but the entire province and our government is laying the groundwork to ensure these benefits are not only realized but maximized.
"We are committed to the development of the Ring of Fire which will result in thousands of direct and indirect jobs and economic development opportunities for Northerners and First Nations Communities.
"However, this work must be done right from the start, and that includes working with all our partners to ensure people have the right skills to make this project a success.”
Statement by David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources
"This kind of rhetoric and misleading facts are what we have come to expect from Tim Hudak.
"Mr. Hudak grossly over simplifies the factors and challenges the forest sector has faced since the collapse of the US housing market. The fact is our record illustrates our commitment to this industry and the vital role it plays in northern communities.
"During the collapse, we worked tirelessly to find solutions, which included making available $1.1 billion in support; the largest forestry aid package in Ontario’s history.
"We continue to work with our industry partners to assist in the re-opening of mills and the creation of new forestry businesses.
"We conducted the largest wood supply competition in Ontario’s history and launched a modernization of Ontario’s tenure and pricing system, a critical step towards opening Ontario’s forest sector to new opportunities.
"Our approach to this is an industry led and locally driven strategy which will benefit Northerners.
"We recognize the continued conservation efforts made by industry and the measures that they currently carry out under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.
"That is why our government put forward changes to the Endangered Species Act to allow a five-year exemption for the sector, while we work to integrate these two pieces of legislation.
"Our government is also continuing to invest in research and innovation in Northern Ontario.
"From new industrial techniques to post-secondary education – we have made significant commitments in the North.
"When the federal conservatives abandoned the Experimental Lakes Area and withdrew funding our government stepped-up and provided up to $2 million a year to ensure that the facility continues to produce world renowned research.
"This investment is part of our government’s plan to foster research and innovation and create a world class destination for scientific research in Ontario.
"Our government is committed to investing in people, investing in infrastructure and creating a positive business environment for job creation and growth. Nowhere is this clearer than in Northern Ontario."