THUNDER BAY – Randy Hillier, PC Party Critic for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry has announced the PC Party’s Northern Policy Consultation to the joint meeting of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce. “The document, which seeks consultation from northern leaders and calls for them to join in creating the PC Party’s Northern Policy platform, is a great step forward for Northern Ontario,” states Hillier.
“This is exactly the opposite of how the McGuinty Liberals do things,” added Hillier. “We’ve seen consultations around the Far North Act cancelled, while other so-called ‘consultations’ by the government have been pre-determined and hollow. This policy consultation contains a number of our thoughts, but its real purpose is actually to allow Northerners to have input. That’s something that’s been missing in this province for a long time.”
“The past few months have been especially devastating in Northern Ontario, as a number of Liberal policies have come into force, damaging Northern industry. An Xtrata smelter was closed in Timmins recently, with the company citing high energy prices (due to the liberal Green Energy Act) as a major factor. Just last week, the passage of Bill 191 cut off 225,000 km2, an area the size of the United Kingdom, from any and all development in the Far North,” Hillier continued.
“We really saw how this government operates with Bill 191. They promised to talk, promised not to go ahead until people agreed,” said Hillier. “But when they found out that Northerners and Aboriginal groups wanted the bill thrown out, they cancelled all further talks and passed it anyways. The McGuinty Liberals have been riding rough-shod over the North for far too long.”
The PC Party has pledged to repeal bill 191 when they are elected in one year, and PC leader Tim Hudak (formerly a minister of Northern Development) has vowed to undo years of liberal mismanagement in the North.
“This is our first step, one of many, towards changing things when we take power in 2011,” concluded Hillier. “We want to make sure that Northern voices really are heard.”