Northern Ontario's Ring of Fire warranted a sentence in Premier Kathleen Wynne's Feb. 19 throne speech.
In reaffirming a commitment for better transportation infrastructure, Wynne said her government will address “the special transportation needs of Ontario's North and endeavour to improve vital access to the Ring of Fire, and improve the flow of people and goods along our trade corridors to the United States.”
She said resource revenue sharing from natural resources is in the cards for First Nations as are training funds and programs to allow Aboriginal people to “fully participate in economic development opportunities, including those related to our natural resources.”
Every area of Ontario will have “dependable, affordable sources of energy” through conservation and energy efficient technologies, with the shuttering of coal-fired power plants to continue.
The new government also promises to be fiscally responsible by “restraining program spending” to cut Ontario's debt and eliminating the deficit by 2017-2018.
Nipissing and Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli was quick to respond, accusing the Liberals of paying “lip service” to Northern Ontario.
“Out of 17 pages, Northern Ontario received half of one sentence,” said Fedeli in a release.
“There was no mention of Ontario Northland or the New Deal, and no definitive plan to develop the Ring of Fire. The lack of attention paid to the North is very alarming.”
Fedeli also expressed dismay at the lack of a plan to reduce spending and create jobs to get Ontarians working again.
“Regrettably for Ontario, Premier Wynne appears to have chosen to entrench the McGuinty agenda that led to the biggest jobs and debt crisis of our lifetime,” said Fedeli.