Premier Designate Kathleen Wynne on Northern Issues

Volunteers from St Peter's Church with
Bill Mauro, Mitchell Curtis, Lisa French, Minister Wynne, Ray Barnwell, Dan Chiarello, Shannon Hobbs and Michael Gravelle

Kathleen Wynne
Premier Kathleen Wynne

THUNDER BAY – Premier Designate Kathleen Wynne says “I hope we can have a regular interaction”. The Premier in a conference call, speaking with media from her office in Queen’s Park, outlined her goals for Northern Ontario today.

The Premier Designate has appointed her transition team, and has met with both Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath. Wynne is seeking to make the legislature work.

Premier Designate Kathleen Wynne on the North

The new cabinet will be sworn in next week and the legislature will be back on February 18th.

Wynne’s goal is getting great autonomy and giving the north region the tools needed.

On the conversion of the Thunder Bay Generating station, Whynne said, “I really need to wait for an assessment from the OPH. I know the Ministry of Energy is also assessing the situation. The conversion of the plant is currently on hold.

On OLG modernization, Wynne said, there is revenue that flows into the provincial coffers. If we are staying in that business, and there is no indication we are not, we have to maximize the revenue.

When asked what decision(s) the Ontario government will make or on reversing the decision on Ontario Northland. Wynne is seeking community input as the decision moves forward. 

On several issues, the Premier Designate commented that she will not commit until there has been greater local consultation.

On forestry where there are a number of new mills announced. Wynne commented that “The forest industry is critical, and I want to work with communities to restore competitiveness. I am going to need to take advice from our members in the North and from communities.”

Wynne said, “I want our commitment in the north to be real”. Within thirty day of being sworn in Wynne says she will hold a cabinet meeting in the north. On the Northern Cabinet Committee, the Premier Designate said, “I believe we need ministers looking at all decisions through a northern lens”.

[sws_pullquote_right]The cabinet will reflect all regions of the north. I can not imagine forming a cabinet without representation from all regions [/sws_pullquote_right]

On her new cabinet, Wynne commented, “Do you want the scoop? The cabinet will reflect all regions of the north. I can not imagine forming a cabinet without representation from all regions.”

Wynne commented on the closure of northern tourism bureaus, “The Northern cabinet committee will look at forward decisions.” The northern tourism bureaus will require input from Northern Mayors and leaders.

On Aboriginal relations, Wynne said what is needed is a better relationship, revenue sharing, and partnerships. My intention will be to take into account all of those concerns raised in a pre-emptive way, and we don’t react to mistakes. We need to be clearer in building those relationships and those discussions.”