THUNDER BAY – Dalton McGuinty came to town. Political and civic leaders gave the Premier two standing ovations. The message sent to the McGuinty cabinet table was loud and clear.
The McGuinty Government has voted in the Far North Act despite every major group in the north being opposed to the legislation.
And he got a pair of standing ovations.
The message; “Do what ever you want to the north Dalton, we love you”.
It is likely the real reason that seasoned political observers note that Northern Ontario issues really do not carry a lot of weight in Queen’s Park. Sure we can claim that the last budget was a “Northern Budget” with the focus on the “Ring of Fire”.
But to pour some reality ontop of the project, it is going to take a long time before any minerals are dug out of the ground. It is going to take building infrastructure to get them out of the mine, and there are likely decades of environmental assessments and negotiations with First Nations before anything can be done.
If Dalton McGuinty thinks that NAN and the First Nations in the Ring of Fire are going to fade away, then both he, and those who would stand up and cheer the Premier are simply wearing their rosy Liberal red glasses way too tight.
Doesn’t anyone remember the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug?
Minister Gravelle and Premier McGuinty both should understand that in the mining industry that companies do not just look for areas with mineral wealth and potential. They invest millions in areas with political stability.
Premier McGuinty by infuriating the First Nations in Northern Ontario with his Far North Act and then rubbing salt in the wounds by appointing his Ring of Fire Co-ordinator who will deal with First Nations without even consulting with the NAN leaders has made Northern Ontario a region of massive political unstability.
Those who cheered the Premier with two standing ovations are telling the Premier that all his actions are alright with them.
It was the completely wrong message.