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Tbnewswatch Local News
Friday May 22 2015
10:42 PM EDT
2014-05-26 at 16:41

Lack of details?

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath
Leith Dunick,
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath
By Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY - Mayor Keith Hobbs says he’d have liked to have seen more specifics in Monday’s Northern leader’s debate.

Hobbs said there was a lot to like about what both Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath had to say, but while both politicians appeared poised, they skirted around many of the issues, failing to offer concretes answers to many questions in the hour-long affair.

Energy was top of mind for Thunder Bay’s mayor, particularly the conversion of the Thunder Bay Generating Station to natural gas, a process stopped dead in its tracks by the Liberals, who later decided to make a partial conversion to biomass.

“What is going to happen with the gas plant? I know Andrea Horwath said that we should be looking at converting it to gas, and that’s what we wanted all along. I wanted to hear that from Kathleen Wynne as well. I just heard biomass and that’s not enough.”

Horwath criticized the Liberal plan as it stands, saying it’s not enough.

“We need to make sure in the short term the biomass is enough,” Horwath said.
Wynne promised conversion of the plant is part of their plan, but did not promise that conversion would include natural gas, an estimated $400-million expense.

“We will work to continue to ensure there is connectivity across the province,” she said.
Kenora Mayor and Northern Ontario Municipal Association president Dave Canfield said a solution for the province’s Municipal Property Assessment Corporation is needed.

Several communities in the North have faced drastic revenue cuts after MPAC lowered assessments on industrial properties, none more so than Dryden. Thunder Bay is also facing a future with lowered revenues if Resolute Forest Products sees its assessment lowered.

Unfortunately, Canfield said, the answer wasn’t forthcoming at the debate.

“We didn’t really hear, I don’t think, the answer we wanted to hear. I think they do recognize it’s an issue, but the Ministry of Finance has recognized it’s been an issue for some time, but they haven’t fixed it. They’ve come at it from all sides and they’ve kind of chopped away and made some changes,” Canfield said.

“The bottom line is this issue is in … southern Ontario. It’s starting to hit them now and it’s going to kill them. The province has a serious, serious problem here. MPAC is badly broke and it needs fixing.”
Wynne, in turn, said she’s more concerned with setting conditions that encourage more businesses to set up shop in these communities, which in turn should lead to more tax revenue.
Horwath had a similar take.

“We’re also going to make sure we’re providing new revenue streams … from mining,” she said.
Conspicuous by his absence was Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, who chose to spend the day campaigning in southern Ontario.

Hobbs said it was a clear message to voters in the region.

“I think what Tim Hudak is saying is he’s not going to win any seats in the North and he thinks all his support is in the south,” Hobbs said.

“That’s to me what it says. If he had come up here and said he knows the North is the economic driver for Ontario, that would have been something. He criticized Dalton McGuinty for not coming up here and now he doesn’t come up here. It doesn’t look good.”

First Nations issues were also front and centre on Monday. Horwath promised to ensure the province’s power grid reaches remote communities. Wynne agreed, but with conditions.

“We need a federal partner,” she said.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Chief Les Loutit said it’s a start and not as much a hurdle as one might think.

“And I think with First Nations participation we can bring the First Nations to the table.”

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tudor says:
Mike, you are looking for facts in a sea of emptiness. And your posting was lacking.

It was NDP member Ian Angus who moved the motion opposing the gas plant conversion. It was then passed by City Council. So today the city is yelling at the province, but the same city didn't want the province to do it. I am sure I am not the only one confused.

How about a wind farm, on a contract the city signed with a private company.

Does no one in this community ever ask what the position is of the City of Thunder Bay???

Does our City Council want the wind farm project to go ahead or not.

If they want it, then the province has no business getting involved in any discussion on the wind farm. it is a legally binding contract.

If the City does not want it, then make a formal request of the Ontario government to put a stop to it.

Right now, this mess created by the city is as ridiculous as their decision to oppose the conversion.
5/26/2014 11:22:57 PM
Common cents says:
Mr. Hobbs look around you, bio mass is the best thing for the North.

Does he even have a clue?
5/26/2014 6:36:51 PM
mikethunderbay says:
I'm always shocked to see the media continue to report that the liberals cancelled the gas plant conversion locally without including the motion city council passed saying they were against the conversion....
5/26/2014 5:56:36 PM
Jack Frost says:
What sort of new businesses would ever want to set up shop anywhere in Ontario with the ridiculous HIGH COST of low cost hydro and insane added taxes on top ?!?!?!

These politicians should be asking the voters what they can do to help ALL Ontario people...

But instead, they are all promising what they will do to help wealthy CORPORATIONS...

They have not EARNED my vote !!
5/26/2014 5:49:47 PM
S Duncan says:
From the story:

Hobbs said it was a clear message to voters in the region.

“I think what Tim Hudak is saying is he’s not going to win any seats in the North and he thinks all his support is in the south,” Hobbs said.

“That’s to me what it says. If he had come up here and said he knows the North is the economic driver for Ontario, that would have been something...."

Actually Keith you've got it backwards as usual.

The North is NOT the economic driver. It is currently a black hole of taxes and beggars who seem to think the government owes them everything.

The North has become an embarrassment of mayors and politicians begging for handouts for non essential things and always failing to provide for themselves. The government is not there to provide for you, and adopting that stance is what ensures further failure from a government that cannot give you everything you want.

Hobbs should hang his head in shame as he is making us out to be low down beggars without any pride. For shame!
5/26/2014 4:51:21 PM
tsb says:
Many southerners I have talked to think that, due to the extreme financial burden this region and its people place on the province, all of the cities and towns in Northern Ontario should be depopulated. Everyone should be relocated to Toronto. What do you think?
5/26/2014 9:53:50 PM
zelig says:
It may be true that the rural economy doesn't contribute much in comparison to the big urban centres but this is only if measured within the current, surreal technology economy. Take away all the financial voodoo and return mankind to a more natural way of living and the big cities would become very fond of us country folk. Think about the things you need to live comfortably and then evaluate the merits of urban vs rural.
5/27/2014 1:17:57 PM
S Duncan says:
I think if people want handouts they should go to handout central and wait in line for them.

When you build a city that caters to handout seekers, thats what you will attract.

Perhaps a move to Toronto is in your future tsb?
5/27/2014 1:20:58 PM
tiredofit says:
Need help packing? Can I call you a cab? Book a flight?
5/27/2014 1:34:23 PM
kingvikingstad says:
5/27/2014 9:50:52 AM
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