Liberals and New Democrats Spar over Northern Plans

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Decision 2011KENORA – SUDBURY – Today the Liberals have their sights directed on NDP leader Andrea Horwath. “Andrea Horwath’s misguided mining pledge will kill jobs by shutting Northern Ontario to outside mineral investment”, stated Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci. “If we close our doors, other provinces and countries will certainly close theirs – permanently killing good paying refinery jobs across Northern Ontario,” said Bartolucci.

From Kenora, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced the NDP’s plan for the North. ‘Respect for the North’, the NDP leader says “addresses the unique needs of Northern Ontario and respects its contribution to Ontario’s economy. We’re offering everyday people in Northern Ontario a real choice that treats their families and communities with the respect they deserve,” said Horwath. “Winters are tougher in the North. Life shouldn’t be.”

Sarah Campbell, NDP candidate for Kenora-Rainy River, said the NDP’s plan for the North means jobs and the protection of natural resources in the region. “Our plan for the North means a continued commitment to Northwestern Ontario,” Campbell said. “The plan will stimulate our economy by creating and protecting jobs and make life more affordable for Northwesterners and their families.”

“Our plan restores hope, hope that our children don’t have to leave the North to find jobs and build their future somewhere else,” said Horwath. “That hope depends on choosing change that puts people first.”

The Liberals say, “By forcing companies to process minerals only in Ontario, other provinces and countries would retaliate by ending mineral investment here – including Quebec, BC, Newfoundland and Labrador, the United States, Peru, Chile, and Argentina”.

“Andrea Horwath is putting hundreds of jobs at risk in Sudbury alone,” said Bartolucci who pointed to Xstrata Sudbury, which could be forced to lay off workers as they receive 70% of smelting material from Quebec, USA, and Australia.

Backgrounder from the NDP on their Northern Plan:

“The NDP plan will protect and create jobs:

Make it the law that resources that can be processed in Ontario won’t be shipped away
Give communities control over wood allocations to get forest-industry towns back on their feet
Get electricity costs and bureaucracy under control and establish an industrial hydro rate that can be used by northern industries

Tackle the high cost of living in the North:

  • Take the HST off of electricity and home heating and start to take it off gasoline
  • Set a weekly cap on gasoline prices
  • Eliminate duplication in Ontario’s electricity system, stop the private power deals and make hydro CEOs more accountable to consumers

Improve Northern health care:

  • More doctors for under-serviced communities and new family health care centres
  • Northern Health Travel Grants paid within 30 days. If it’s not on time government will pay interest for every day it’s late.

Respect for Northern decision-making:

  • Ensuring First Nations benefit from resource development and are empowered to play a full role in improving their communities
  • Give the north a voice at Queen’s Park by setting up a Northern Ontario Legislative Committee
  • Ensure Mining Tax revenue from new mines stays in the North with municipalities and First Nations.