Northern Ontario is the next frontier – Tim Hudak
THUNDER BAY – Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak is in Thunder Bay. The PC leader is here to unveil the party’s newest white paper on Northern Issues.
“Northern Ontario is the next frontier. It is the expanding edge of Ontario’s economy, an area whose rich forest and mineral resources can fuel a reviving North American economy,” states Hudak.
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 14thPC white paper on strengthening our economy.
The PC leader will stop by the NNL Studio this afternoon and answer questions on the PC Plan.
Tim Hudak GoLive Thunder Bay
“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, the PC Party 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.”
Its colleges and universities provide leading research and technology training. Its aboriginal peoples are the cornerstone of Ontario’s history and a critical part of its economic and cultural future. The north is a place where people know how to work hard and make their own way.
And yet, northern Ontario is falling far short of its potential today. The Ring of Fire is the greatest mining discovery of a lifetime, but the project has gone nowhere. Our once-burgeoning forest industry has shrunk and mills have closed. The entrepreneurial spirit that built the north has been crushed under the weight of government regulations and environmental rules that seem designed to stop growth and keep industry away.
Minister of Northern Development, Michael Gravelle Hudak has it all wrong.
“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, states the Minister. “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,” states Gravelle. “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”.
Minister Gravelle adds, “In the last 10 years alone, 23 new mines have opened with 8 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.”