THUNDER BAY – Leaders Ledger – The latest cancellation of a gas-fired power plant contract in Thunder Bay is just the latest in a long list of Liberal insults to Northern Ontario. The cancellation of the coal-to-gas conversion announced earlier this month effectively kills 100 Northern jobs and breaks the Liberal promise to ensure reliable power in the North. Amazingly, this is the SECOND time this particular project has been killed by this Liberal government. Given what we learned in the documents surrounding the Mississaugaand Oakvillepower plant scandal, this decision can only be political – directed by the Premier and Liberal cabinet, who just can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to meddling in Ontario’s energy sector. You see the result of that on your ever-rising hydro bill.
Again, this was a Liberal decision that came with no prior consultation of Northerners. See a pattern here? The fire sale of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission. The closing of Northern provincial parks. The closure of tourism centres in Northwestern Ontario. The laundry list of examples of Liberal Northern abandonment just continues to grow.
Sadly, the warning signs for Northerners about Liberal indifference toward prosperity in the region have been there for some time.
Look at the Far North Act, which puts half of Northern Ontario off limits to development. Look at the Northern Growth Plan, which didn’t include Ontario Northland and ignores anything outside of Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Look at the high energy prices that sent Xstrata packing for Quebec. Look at the 60 forestry mills that have closed.
Meanwhile, the Liberals also continue to dither with development of the Ring of Fire as Cliffs Resources says it may now have to delay its start-up until 2017. The Liberal record in Northern Ontario has truly become a disgrace.
All you really need to know about the Liberal view of the North is this — when the Premier didn’t attend last year’s Northern debate, and launched his campaign’s Northern platform in Newmarket, it was clear then that Northern Ontario was an afterthought for the Liberals.
We, as Northerners, deserve much better than this government.