OTTAWA – Leaders Ledger – Thomas Mulcair is opposed to resource development in Northern Ontario and the thousands of jobs that will result from it. Instead of recognizing the importance of Canada’s resource sector, he calls it a ‘disease.’
We know that our bountiful resources can be developed responsibly and promote economic growth and prosperity across all regions and sectors of our economy. In 2010, the natural resources sectors employed over 760,000 workers. In the next 10 years, more than 500 major economic projects representing well over $500 billion in new investments are planned across Canada.
Here in Northern Ontario, mining and forestry have been the bedrocks of this region’s economy for more than a century. Our Government recognizes the importance of the mining industry and the significant role it plays in providing good jobs for Canadians. Literally billions of dollars worth of nickel, copper, gold, platinum and other metals have been mined, milled, smelted and refined in this area for over 130 years. There are currently 25 major natural resource investment projects in Northern Ontario (11 underway, 10 announced, four proposed), representing $17.5 billion.
Equally important, mining and forestry companies in this community have demonstrated that meeting our economic objectives does not mean lowering environmental standards. This is not, and never will be an “either/or choice.”
Take for example, the recently announced Cliffs Natural Resources plans to build a $1.8-billion chromite processing facility in the Ring of Fire and which could be worth as much as $50 billion. As well there are estimates for deposits of base metals and platinum-group metals worth as much as $10 billion. Yet Thomas Mulcair and the NDP want to block development of Canada’s natural resources – including here in Northern Ontario – killing the creation of good jobs and economic growth for our region.
Mr. Mulcair’s allegation that Canada suffers from so-called ‘Dutch disease’ are contradicted by hard numbers from Statistics Canada: manufacturing sales increased 1.9% in March to $49.7 billion, the largest increase since September 2011, a gain that was predominately led by the energy sector. This is welcome news for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians working in manufacturing, including Ontario and Quebec. However, rather than praising the resource sector for its contribution to Canada’s economy, Mr. Mulcair instead chooses to attack it. The facts clearly show the value-added sector in Ontario is strong and is getting stronger, because of and not in spite of our energy and natural resources sectors.
Mr. Mulcair is deliberately misusing facts and figures to pit one region of the country against another. We know resource development is critical to expanding our economy and creating hundreds of thousands of direct, indirect and induced highly skilled jobs, as well as contributing to government revenues to fund everything from education and health care to roads and bridges.
That is why our Government is committed to our plan for Responsible Resource Development as part of Economic Action Plan 2012. The resulting economic activity will stimulate job creation right here in Northern Ontario and across the country.
Mr. Mulcair’s economic prescription will raise prices, kill jobs, and hurt Canadian families. We call on him to support important resource development in Northern Ontario. We simply cannot afford the NDP’s reckless approach to our important natural resources.
Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources;
Greg Rickford, MP Kenora, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CanNor and FedNor