Tbnewswatch Local News
Monday July 6 2015
8:18 PM EDT
2014-04-28 at NOON

Province commits

By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- The Ring of Fire ball is now in the federal government’s court, after the province on Monday committed $1 billion to pay for infrastructure needed to turn the mining dream into reality.

A trio of Liberal ministers made the announcement Monday, promising the money will be allocated in Thursday’s provincial budget.

In committing the cash, Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Bill Mauro called on the federal government to step up to the table with an equal or greater share.

“The impact of this project will be felt for generations to come … and from coast to coast,” Mauro said. “But we need help. It is fundamental to the future economic success of Ontario. And it’s national in its scope.”

Mauro added the federal government talks a good game, but has to come forward with something more concrete than promises.

And it should be done outside the Building Canada fund, he said.

“They can do this as a standalone. They’ve done it in other cases and they can do so with this project,” Mauro said.

The provincial money will be used to develop plans to build all-season transportation corridors and bring communication and power to the Ring of Fire, a multi-billion dollar mineral deposit long touted as Ontario’s economic saviour.

The multi-company project has hit plenty of roadblocks, including resistance from neighbouring First Nations communities and last year’s decision by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. to halt all development in the Ring of Fire, citing too many obstacles to make their project happen.

Matawa First Nations signed a memorandum of understanding with the province earlier this month. Representatives from Cliffs were on hand for Monday’s announcement, but when asked for comment, a spokesperson said they weren’t ready to comment at this time.

Noront CEO Alan Coutts called it good news.

Without infrastructure, there is no Ring of Fire, he said.

“Infrastructure is the big enabler of everything that’s going to come,” said Coutts, whose company is eager to get going on its Eagle’s Nest mine site.

“It allows us to focus on things like training, skills, job development. And at the very end of that road is a mine. The great thing is all of these kinds of benefits can move from this kind of an infrastructure support.”

The money is contingent on the budget passing. Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has unequivocally stated he won’t support the budget under any circumstances and has called on the NDP to bring down the government and force a June election.

Orazietti asked for sober second thought on the matter, underscoring the importance of the project to the province’s future.

“That’s why it’s so important that we not have any gamesmanship and we move forward with initiatives that matter to northerners,” Orazietti said, imploring opposition parties to vote for the budget or risk losing the billion dollars.

However, The NDP’s mining critic called it nothing more than pre-election grandstanding.

“The Liberal government has had over five years to come to the table, with not only funding for infrastructure, but a real plan for the Ring of Fire that benefits First Nations and Northern communities, creates jobs and tackles infrastructure and the high price of electricity,” Michael Mantha said in a release.

“But instead of a plan that could create an estimated 5,500 jobs annually, this government stood by as companies walked away from Ontario. More money for infrastructure in the Ring of Fire sure sounds like a good step forward, but Northerners are tired of broken promises and are worried this investment is coming too late.”

PC critic Norm Miller said the province has been virtually silent on the Ring of Fire development corporation, which will work with stakeholders to decide how to spend the infrastructure money. 

He added there is no timeline for development and no decision on the orientation of the transportation link. 

“This announcement seems to be yet another empty promise from a government that has bragged about developing the Ring of Fire for years now, even suggesting a production date as early as 2015.” Miller said. 


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The Beaver..... says:

The problem is they are bringing it on our Credit Card...and it is maxed out, and has been for a long time. My kids credit card is already maxed out and they don't even have one yet
4/30/2014 12:35:33 PM
The Beaver..... says:
here is one for you...should make us all proud to be Ontarians
And, it turns out, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s chief of staff, Tom Teahan, not only made a lot more than she did, he even pulled in bigger bucks than U.S. President Barack Obama’s chief of staff.
Way to go
4/30/2014 8:51:50 AM
hotchoc says:
If the NDP support this budget there is no election this year. That is what will determine it as others have stated. So this talk about it being pre-election is a little thin but indulge me.

If no election takes place, one has to take place next year.

My question is this.

How long before the election should the MPP's stop bringing things to the area. 3 months. 6 months. A year.

When should they stop working to bring items here and just do nothing.

Before the last election they were criticized for announcing the law school. Both MPP's then won. So they could have had a change of heart and forgot about the school. Only it is here.
As the paper said today. Of course these issues are political. That is how things get done. Without our political MPP's, what exactly would be going on in Thunder Bay. A fire sale before the closed sign went up.
You can dislike Liberals all you want and I have for years but the evidence of what they have accomplished is all around us. It is very good
4/29/2014 9:39:16 PM
prospector pete says:
I remeber when Andacona built a road,airport and secured the land to slurry pipeline their rich iron ore from NW of Nakina to Nipigon Bay in the late 50's.Guess what that iron ore is still in the ground,apparently market conditions changed? The boom lasted for 3 years.
That project was funded entirely by Andaconda, if the only big player walked away from the Ring of Fire ( Cliffs) then I guess the chrome will stay in the ground as long as Andacondas Iron.
4/29/2014 4:03:09 PM
Oldtimerqt says:

Still is the need to continue the divided 4 lane highway across northern Ontario then .....maybe add the extension ..to the north..

We still do not even have a separation of the lanes on the Thunder Bay bypass..or proper warning lights...at the intersections..

Safety Priorities are again ... Mistaken...but the Liberals do have their own priorities and pipe dreams..
4/29/2014 2:14:38 PM
pc says:
How is it that they can come up with money for this project in Billions but they turned down chemo at $8000. a month to keep a mother and wife alive. She had brain cancer and the chemo would have kept her alive for a few more months with her family. The tumor was 1" above the area for treatment to be paid. That would be $8000 for a few months. They also gave a bakery a few thousand to help them sell bread baked with local flour.
This gov. sure has it's priorities right. Let people die under their watch but spend money and promises hand over fist.
People died in Walkerton due to drinking brothers who fudged numbers and Mike Harris was vilified.
Wynne's watch killed through neglect and penny pinching one mother and it barely makes the headlines.
Something is wrong with the people of Ontario who let this happen. It is under our watch and we should step in and do something about it.
4/29/2014 12:23:44 PM
tudor says:
I do not know if I can recall one story on this site that did not have negative comments connected to it.

If you believe the province has delayed this project or dropped the ball in some way, that is your choice to believe. I am not saying I agree with you or disagree with you. Your opinion to have but it leads me to a question for those who think the province failed.

If this should have been done 1, 3, 5 years ago what did our Federal Government do to move this project along. Canada has much to gain by this development, just like they did in developing the tar sands that were supported by Ottawa.

Too many on this site focus on one issue and base their opinion on that.

If the province failed so too did the Federal Government.
If the province acted appropriately in waiting for agreements with First nations people, then it is now time for the Federal Government to step up.

Pick one of those choices and let us know.
4/29/2014 11:28:24 AM
Robert Bob says:
ROF the road/train infrastucture cost and payouts are around 2.5 BILLION. Add to this some cost overruns, more social payouts. Jobs hell yes, tax increases oh boy yes bring them.
Just what the North needs, maybe a nice new high speed rail service to ROF. I always wanted to visit Longlac and Nakina. Think of all the potential tourist visits to ROF. New outpost and trading companies will explode.
4/29/2014 10:51:11 AM
The Beaver..... says:
once again you ignore all the reality she says
Lorie.. here is the reality.
In 2003/04 Ontario's debt was 132,6 billion In 2013/14 it is 288 billion that is more then double thanks to your Liberal friends. If you are ok with that good for you, but pleas do not lecture others on the subject. It is evident that you still don't see the economic disaster that is just around the corner
4/29/2014 10:42:12 AM
nvjgu says:
I will not vote liberal, never.
4/29/2014 10:07:49 AM
S Duncan says:
These liberals are embarrassing. They embarrass this province, the country, the city, and myself.

Im ashamed to live under their government as well as the methods and ideals they and their supporters share.

The blatant attempts at vote buying and destructive tactics they use are almost unimaginable. They do this all the time, if the others don't support this ridiculous budget they will jump all over them claiming that they "don't support ring of fire development" tugging at the emotions of those who hope to some day get a decent paying job in a mineral rich province.

but at what cost? how far will they go? to what degree does it rise to justify their ends?

a new Ontario government can't come soon enough and history should look down upon these destructive years as lessons on how not to run a province or a political party.

goodbye unelected wynne, and take your terrible greedy debt ridden politics with you back down the hole liberals should be.
4/28/2014 11:44:22 PM
animiki says:
I would rather see this government fall, then campaign on this and the other promises they've made, such as the $29B for new public transit projects in the south. The Liberals have squandered the public trust (the gas plant fiasco and the scandals around e-Health and Ornge are just a small part of the list), so they lack credibility in the management of public funds. Yes, this is probably a good investment of $1B, but this government should be forced to face the voters before having an opportunity to commit more public funds on this scale. They can campaign on this promise, and the other parties can respond with this own positions on it.

Sorry, but much as I'd like to see the Ring of Fire developed, I don't want the current government to be the ones to do it without giving the voters/taxpayers a chance to pass judgment on them before make such massive public investments. If they get re-elected, then they're good to go. If not, then the people will have made their stand clear.
4/28/2014 11:11:57 PM
Tachyion says:
Vote against the budget Andrea, if you see fit. Do not let these political prostitutes hold any party hostage. These Liberal politicians know no bounds in their quest for re-election. Back to my hibernation stage now......ZZzzzzzz.
4/28/2014 10:46:48 PM
anvil of crom says:
last time I checked when it comes to any big loan you had to go to the bank, so how is this billion any different. Its a business loan, that will go towards a project/business, that will last decades , hiring many people will create revenues and economic benefit. I don't much but I do know you have to invest in something to make it happen. Yes there is risk involved , opportunity comes with risk. The opposite? sit back in your armchair and sit on your money, sit on your resources and piss moan whine about the good old days, see how that works for you in this big world.
4/28/2014 10:19:29 PM
unknowncronik says:
...so with these new roads/train tracks from communities that never had access like this before, it should bring more income to Thunder Bay & surrounding areas over time....

and the one day, the ole ring o fire may just happen...may.
4/28/2014 10:08:17 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Your kidding right ? More income ? How about the strain this will put on our social services ? Who do you think will pay for that ? Where will these people stay once the shelters are full ? Good think City Council wants the Event Center built pronto , that way they can use it as an emergency shelter in the entertainment district for years to come .
4/29/2014 9:27:05 AM
lori says:
yqtyqt, once again you ignore ALL the reality. Canada has a debt of 600 Billion, 20,000 for each man woman and child in Canada. Ontario has debt too, but spare us the Ontario debt while ignoring Canada's, especially when Ontario's debt is building Thunder Bay, while Ottawa's debt is going everywhere else.

As someone said above. There is only an election if the NDP do not support this.

So there it is.

Tell me how the NDP get to say they care about the north if they call an election and jeopardize this project.

There is no election scheduled.

By law this gov't does not have to go to the polls until Oct 2015. They are providing a budget for Ontario for the next year.

If the PC's or NDP vote against it, they are calling the elution not the Liberals. If the budget passes, the money is on the table and then maybe the "experts" might ask.....

"where are the Fed's".........

MIA as always, just like our NDP MP's
4/28/2014 9:36:25 PM
homelessteen says:
What no money for new uniforms for the nurses. WTH
4/28/2014 8:12:09 PM
yqt says:
All things aside, I wanna know what the government takes in from tax payers by region, and then what it spends in each region.

Dollar/person, we've been screwed for decades.
4/28/2014 7:16:01 PM
eventscentre says:
It's so depressing to read some of these comments. If a party doesn't give our region money, they get criticized; and if they do they get reaped over the coals. Every time there's an announcement that either the city or province wants to undertake a project to better the region, people criticize.
4/28/2014 6:19:28 PM
YellowSnow13 says:
How is this a bad thing. I'll tell you were they will get the money. Your pocket. Your taxes will be going up and if you don't think so, think again. This is nothing but buying votes. It is coming out now because the Liberals want to buy the NDP vote for the budget. This could of happened years ago but no. If you are going to vote liberal or NDP you are going to get what you deserve. A big pile of debt, increased taxes and I'm sure 90% of you will NEVER see a dime from the ROF. Show me how it is lining my pocket with cash. It's not!
4/28/2014 6:15:31 PM
Watchmaker says:
Nice gamesmanship. By making the funding contingent on the federal government (which has systematically reduced transfer payments) contribution, the province tries to wash their hands if the money doesn't flow from the federal coffers. The timing of the announcement is well calculated. It is advance of the budget, which could be turned down by the other parties prompting an election. Between the chance that that could happen and the possibility that the Federal government won't chip in, the Province could be off the hook altogether.
4/28/2014 6:10:01 PM
Leith Dunick says:
Province was asked if the money was contingent on federal contributions. They did not say it was. But all three ministers repeated several times that they wanted the feds to step up. It is contingent on the budget passing.
4/29/2014 12:23:21 AM
Watchmaker says:
That is true Leith, BUT the province said the money they kick in will be used to "develop plans" - a far cry from constructing the transportation corridor. Government offices are filled with plans that have been developed and are now just gathering dust...

The province can still play the "feds didn't ante up" card and dodge this.
4/29/2014 7:38:56 AM
reese says:
I hope they budgeted for all the extra,s that go along with a mining boom
Drug and alcokol rehab,domestic violence,assaults,police protection,STD,s history has proven it is going to happen
4/28/2014 5:50:23 PM
fastball says:
Let me get this straight, OK? You don't think we should have any part of a potential billion-dollar economic boom because of.....venereal disease and social issues? Here's a clue, Reese - those issues are here already.
Seriously, this is the DUMBEST argument against an economic opportunity I've ever heard - and I've seen a lot of them here.
4/29/2014 2:02:11 PM
bttnk says:
Whether it is political gamesmanship by the Liberals or not, the fact is there is $1 billion on the table that will move the ROF project forward in a big way. How exactly is that a bad thing?

The province is indeed in debt, but does that mean you stop spending completely? Surely not. This is what can be described as good debt and certainly will pay off in huge dividends.
4/28/2014 4:44:02 PM
Robert Bob says:
How about the Ont liberal Govt call on Ottawa Fed's for another 1.5B an they throw in the funding for the "event Centre " as a bonus. Time for some politcal backroom deal making. While they are at it how about 8 new over-pass or Truck By-pass for the so called expressway. What else can be "promised" or made before the election. How about a another Wind Farm and new Swing bridge. Thunder Bay can increase the export of Persians to Queens Park and Coney Dogs to thank all those politicans. Hudak and Horwath can make there own promises once they clear it with Ottawa. Time for TBay City politians to start wheeling and dealing on Lets Make Deal.
4/28/2014 4:15:49 PM
jonthunder says:
I don't mean to be personally critical of any politician. But this really is a sad, very sad joke. The Federal Government now needs to step up to the financial plate? Where has Ontario, which has jurisdiction for lands and resources, been for about the last 6 years? I, like others, don't want to be too cynical, but what choice does the current Ontario government leave us? And what do the other parties concretely put on the table? We humble citizens deserve much, much better.
4/28/2014 3:41:00 PM
conker2012 says:
The trolls that are whining of where this money will come from have NO IDEA how big this project is.

If you look at just one of the mines and just focus on the cost to develop the mine this 1 billion will be returned to tax payers in no time.

The cliffs mine and processing facility had a estimated budget of $3.3billion to construct the mine and processing facility. Just the HST on the contracts for equipment and construction would generate $230million dollars. Assuming 1/3 of the budget cost is for labour and the average workers wage is $75k a year for the trades, the imcome tax is about $200million. Now add corporate and business tax on the contractors and then BOOM half of the billion dollars spent on the infrastructure money is recovered before a single bit of ore has been removed from the ground. Since there is something like 40-50 claims in the ROF and assuming 25% are viable we will have no problem making this billion back and then some!
4/28/2014 3:31:26 PM
ring of fire dude says:
"Add corporate and business tax " Ya , that's rich !
4/28/2014 4:57:23 PM
gremlin says:
WOW, how convenient. The province will commit 1 billion (it doesn't have but will tack on to the debt of future generations) just before the up-coming budget. How nice of them. I'm sure our "grand-children will be thankful.
4/28/2014 2:57:12 PM
The Beaver..... says:
Ohhh noooo there goes the Event Center
4/28/2014 2:37:02 PM
yqtyqt says:
And the money comes from ???? Anyone? How Mike (gravelle) from Thunder Bay?

My guess is that the Libs have no idea. Just like every spending announcement they make.

Let me spell this out. They're going to borrow the money on top of the $20,000 that we all owe right now.

Just in time for an election. Why n ot make this announcement 6 months ago. Because they know their budget wont pass. Then they can blame everyone else but themselves fro dragging their heels.

Politics at it height!
4/28/2014 2:21:30 PM
NorthernGuy says:
There will only be an election if the NDP calls one.

Now that the current government has committed this money, it would be in the best interests of Northerners for the NDP to not call an election and allow this project to move forward.
4/28/2014 2:17:32 PM
onebyside says:
looking forward to reading the comments from the whiners that said this would never happen
4/28/2014 1:55:07 PM
drdolittle says:
Ha. The story of NWO, these self-serving politicos get the media together, puff themselves up and tell us how fantastic things are going to be with this brand new influx of free money. How about we just let the private companies pillage the land and take the profits offshore without using any of our hard-earned tax $$? I'm sick of this crony capitalist BS.
4/28/2014 1:50:40 PM
mikethunderbay says:
A common theme seems to be that any investment in northern ontario is only happening because of an election. What needs to be remembered is the next scheduled provincial election isn't scheduled until Oct 2015. There will only be an election if the opposition parties vote against the budget. Also it would have been silly for the gov't to invest money in this project without the understanding being reached with first nations. Once that was established a commitment from the gov't has now followed soon after. Also what should be remembered is in the previous budgets the NDP voted in favour of them after budget consultations with the Liberals, they did this without demanding funding for the ROF so for them to make these negative comments and speak about this being to late is absurd. They talk a big game during the year but come time when the time came to make budget demands they didn't seem to concerned with the ROF. This is another billion dollars for N ONT. Having two ministers is great
4/28/2014 1:18:33 PM
chezhank says:
The province is $272 billion in debt and they are willing to commit $1.0 billion in what fairy dust!
4/28/2014 1:17:07 PM
fastball says:
Fairy dust - which could may or may not turn out to be an developmental boom to an area which has little or no economic activity. But at least they're going to kickstart the process. Honestly, can it be any worse than the other boondoggles down South? At least they're going to spend the money around here.

4/28/2014 3:54:40 PM
Rock49 says:
Fastball, you are truly one of the only reasonable people on this forum. Our opinions are almost always identical.
4/28/2014 10:24:27 PM
Arch Stanton says:
I guess we shouldn't look a gift-horse in the mouth. But...

The tragedy is, this 'initiative' should have been ready to roll a year or two back - before the slump in commodity prices, before the curtailing of most exploration programs and before the pull-out of Cliffs etc etc etc.

It really does sound like an attempt to close stable door (long) after the electoral horse has bolted...
4/28/2014 1:11:51 PM
yqt says:
Money has nothing to do with it. If it's that big of a project, private money will always be there to reap the rewards. It's the resistance from neighbouring First Nations communities that is holding up the project. Get them out of the way, and things will finally start rolling.
4/28/2014 1:06:08 PM
fastball says:
You guys act like this is something new. Money somehow magically gets found just before an election. It happens every single time - and will happen in the future as well.
At this point, I don't care where it comes from - just be thankful they're spending it in your direction.
4/28/2014 1:00:06 PM
musicferret says:
LOL Hilarious! No money, no progress and an incredibly slow pace of movement...... UNTIL..... almost budget time! Suddenly, there is a billion $ ready to go!

lol what a farce. Gifting us our own children's money. Lets be clear: We are in debt to our eyeballs and this is more borrowed money sinking our province further into the hole. Election can't come soon enough.
4/28/2014 12:54:03 PM
mikethunderbay says:
Of course there is no money until the budget, its 1 billion dollars. Thats something that should be budgeted for. As I've already said there is only an election if the NDP don't support the budget (conservatives have already said they will not). As I've also already said, waiting for understanding with First Nations to commit to investment was a smart move. If there was no understudying with first nations the construction would have faced resistance and delays from first nations.
The election isn't scheduled until Oct 2015 so this is investment for the future of northern ontario and the rest of the province. Perhaps this is simply the result of having 3 northern ministers representing us. When are people going to wake up and say WOW we've had it pretty good in terms of the unparalleled amount of investment in northern ontario under the liberals. The NDP talk a big game but what do they accomplish, ask yourself what your federal MP has accomplished in his time...it's a very short list
4/28/2014 1:24:52 PM
Robert Smithers says:
Perhaps you should try a little reading comprehension there, your "The election isn't scheduled until Oct 2015" is nothing more than a red herring, reread the news release, it is 1 Billion if the budget is passed, if the budget isnt passed what happens? the supposed 1 Billion dollars in taxpayer debt goes poof and an election happens in as early as June 2014, this is a vote buy nothing more, nothing less. To justify your support of the Liberals with a bunch of misleading gobbledygook would be laughable if it wasn't pure nonsense.
4/28/2014 3:12:22 PM
Who-cares says:
Nothing like doing nothing for years, and then come budget time.... Buying Votes, Wynne has to go
4/28/2014 12:46:55 PM
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