SAULT STE MARIE – A Northern Cabinet Committee was formed at today’s northern cabinet meeting held in Sault Ste. Marie today. The Northern cabinet committee will be chaired by Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay – Atikokan. The committee will address the complex needs of Northern Ontario, including job creation, revitalizing transportation infrastructure and improving vital access to the Ring of Fire. The committee will also help oversee the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario.
The government formed the committee at a cabinet meeting held in Sault Ste. Marie. Premier Kathleen Wynne committed in December to convening a cabinet meeting in Northern Ontario within 30 days of being sworn-in.
Northern Cabinet Committee
Bill Mauro, the Chair for the new Northern Committee stated, “I’m happy to Chair the new Northern Cabinet Committee to bring a greater focus on priorities that will help the northern economy grow, create jobs and help all Northerners succeed. Since 2003, our government has made incredible investments and progress throughout Northern Ontario. This committee provides us with an opportunity to strengthen and expand our initiatives–harnessing the incredible talent and unprecedented opportunity in our province’s North.”
“My team and I have been listening to the unique concerns of the people in this region. The Northern cabinet committee will help us put the ideas and discussions we’ve had into action as we work to improve transportation, create jobs, and ensure a brighter future for every person in this province,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Cabinet Meeting held in Sault Ste Marie
“I am pleased to welcome the first cabinet meeting held in Northern Ontario since 1995. The Premier has made is clear that the North is a top priority for this government and bringing all my colleagues to Sault Ste. Marie is proof of that continued commitment,” stated David Orazietti, the Minister of Natural Resources.
“The North has so much to offer and with the discovery of the Ring of Fire, the largest chromite deposit in the world, the northern Ontario economy will become the envy of all regions and will create good jobs for our children’s future,” enthused the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle.
The enthusiasm from the Ontario Liberals didn’t resonate with the Ontario NDP.
NDP MPP Gilles Bisson said the Liberal government’s cabinet meeting in Sault Ste Marie today shows it’s more interested in holding photo-opportunities in Northern Ontario than delivering any results for families in the region.
While New Democrats have proposed positive solutions such as an all-party Northern Committee that would represent all Northerners, no matter which party they vote for, the Liberal record speaks for itself.
The NDP states, “Over the last nine years, the Ontario Liberals:
- Promised to convert the Thunder Bay Generating Station twice. Only to cancel it twice, putting resource development in the Thunder Bay region at risk;
- Plan to privatize Lotteries, calling into question good jobs in Sault Ste. Marie;
- Privatized Winter Road Maintenance, leaving contractors unaccountable, and Northern drivers with highways covered in snow;
- Dismantled the Ontario Northlander;
- Dismantled the Ontario Ranger Program;
- Closed parks across the North;
- Cut jobs at the Ministry of Natural Resources;
- Made a mess of Northern Ontario’s Forestry Tenure system; and
- Left Northern Ontario with unaffordable energy leading to mill closures across the North”.
“After a decade of neglect, a photo-op in Northern Ontario isn’t going to impress Northerns or address the challenges families are facing,” said Bisson. “Northerns are tired of empty platitudes from this government and want a little less talk and a lot more action.”
- This is the first time since 1995 that the Ontario government has held a cabinet meeting in Northern Ontario.
- The Ontario government has provided more than $71 million in support of 608 projects in Sault Ste. Marie since October 2003, through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. Those investments have helped create or retain 2,275 jobs, internships and co-op placements.
The Growth Plan for Northern Ontario was launched in 2011.