QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says today’s announcement by Cliffs Natural Resources that they will be constructing a new smelter outside Capreol is a sign that Ontario’s natural resources can be used to create jobs and prosperity in Ontario. She pushed for a finalized deal with First Nations partners, that guarantees jobs for northerners and ensures that unprocessed resources aren’t exported.
“Today’s announcement proves what New Democrats have been saying: Northern Ontario has the skilled workforce and the ability to process natural resources and create prosperity and good jobs right here in Ontario,” said Horwath. “Now we need a finalized deal that ensures sustainable jobs, a real partnership with First Nations and processing that happens here in Ontario, not overseas”.
Ontario’s Ring of Fire is rich in chromite which, when processed, is a key component in stainless steel. Cliffs and the province are still negotiating the deal and have several outstanding issues to resolve before they could reach a final agreement. Unresolved issues include whether the company will be granted an exemption to process some materials outside of Canada, and Ontario’s high electricity rates.
“First Nations Leaders are also raising concerns about lack of consultation despite government promises of putting First Nations ‘front and centre’. If we want to bring prosperity to the north, it needs to be there for everyone,” said Horwath. “A relationship of respect is key if we’re going to see any real progress. Without meaningful consultation and full participation the jobs promised today could be lost to drawn-out disputes”.