The Ring of Fire talk is continuing at Queen’s Park, as the provincial Mines Critic is asking what happened in last week’s budget. Michael Mantha had some harsh words for the provincial government, saying Northern Ontario wants to see the chromite project up and running. He says year after year, we hear the government make big promises and yet they all come back empty. Mantha says the province claims to be committed to the project, but they stand by and watch all of the companies leave and halt operations.
He says the province is dangling the $1 billion promise over the heads of Northerners, industry and First Nations, without actually giving a timeline for the money to be spent. Mantha says the project depends on a number of factors; transportation, infrastructure, environmental policies, electricity prices, and leadership by the government.
However, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, David Zimmer, says the project is a complicated one, and they are making progress. He says the government has established a Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation. On top of that, they’ve made a $1 billion commitment to develop transportation infrastructure. He says they have also reached a historic regional framework with the Matawa First Nations.
Zimmer says that lays the groundwork for future discussions. He also says they have a joint investment with the federal government of more than $785,000.