QUEEN’S PARK – Northern Ontario was again on the mind of provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath. In Question Period today, the NDP leader was up for the second day in a row seeking information from the McGuinty Government on an issue of importance to our region.
Here is the exchange from Question Period:
Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Premier. Cliffs Natural Resources in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire have said that they want to ship chromite overseas to refineries. Will the government allow our natural resources to be shipped to China when they should be processed here in Ontario, providing work for Ontario workers?
Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Northern Development and Mines.
Hon. Rick Bartolucci: The Cliffs project provides an opportunity for incredible job creation not only in northern Ontario but across Ontario. The potential of mining chromite is enormous.
We on this side of the House want to ensure that development moves very, very smoothly, moves very, very quickly, because the economic impact is immense. It’s immense not only for residents of Ontario; it’s immense for the definition of Ontario as the leading mining jurisdiction across the world.
We will ensure that we get the process correct. We will engage our First Nations communities. We will ensure that we engage the mining communities, that we engage industry. We will ensure that we maximize the potential of job creation for Ontario with the—
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Supplementary?
Ms. Andrea Horwath: Speaker, the Premier said that he is committed to leading-edge jobs in the Ring of Fire; that’s what the Premier said. Processing chromite for the Ring of Fire would create good-paying, value-added jobs in northern Ontario.
It’s time for the Premier to stand up for those leading-edge jobs for northerners. Is the Premier going to allow good, leading-edge processing jobs to leave Ontario or not?
Hon. Rick Bartolucci: Let me reinforce what I said. I’m glad that the leader of the third party understands the importance of this, because what we won’t do is what the NDP would do. They would build walls around Ontario. They would ensure that people like workers in northern Ontario at the Xstrata smelting and processing plant would lose jobs, with their philosophy and their policy. We’re not going to do that.
We’re not going to do that. We’re going to ensure that we maximize the potential of the Ring of Fire. We’re going to ensure that we maximize the job creation for northern Ontarians and all Ontarians. We’re going to ensure that we maximize the definition of Ontario, because our priority is job creation, protection of health care and education.