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2011-06-14 at 15:03

Northern touch

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
FASD FactsDrinking Alcohol at any time during pregnancy could affect the normal development of the baby.www.mushkiki.com
The region needs more autonomy if Northwestern Ontario wants to get its economy going, says Kenora’s mayor.

David Canfield, who is also the vice-president of NOMA and sits on an advisory committee for the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, said he’s tired hearing provincial governments from all parties deliver empty promises for the region.

"If we could drive the policy, if the policies could be made in Northwestern Ontario for Northwestern Ontario I guarantee our economy would booming," Canfield said Tuesday morning during the second day of the Think North II conference in at the Victoria Inn.

"Get Queen’s Park out of our face. Let us drive the policies not people driving policies that know very little or nothing about us."

Canfield said he was encouraged by Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle’s announcement of an independent, non-profit Northern Policy Institute. But if it’s just window-dressing, Canfield said he and other Northwestern Ontario leaders will be disappointed.

"If that’s what it’s going to do, we support it 100 per cent. If it’s not well then we’re going to have a problem and we’re going to have to take a different approach to it."

Canfield said he’s been hearing from everyone at the two-day conference that more autonomy is needed for the region to succeed and he hopes the government is listening.

"We’re all saying the same thing. I have yet to hear one person who’s said any different."

One problem is that Northwestern Ontario MPPs are outnumbered by their southern counterparts 104 to 3. When the auto industry in southern Ontario was on the verge of collapse, billions of dollars were handed out almost overnight by the province.

When the forestry industry collapsed in Northwestern Ontario, $1 billion was announced, but much of that still hasn’t been spent, Canfield said.

"I doubt if half of it has been accessed because it’s almost impossible to access.”

John Gallagher is an international consultant who has overseen economic development projects from Bosnia and Herzegovina to his native Ireland. He said part of what’s necessary in the growth plan now is people, ideas and action.

"This might sound quite simple but it starts with the people and ends with the people. You need a group of passionate and committed people that are united, that have a common purpose and are willing to work together as long and hard as it takes and deliver for their people,” Gallagher said.

“It’s as simple as that. We can speak about models and theories but if you don’t have people that are committed you’re not going to achieve anything."

The conference wraps up Tuesday afternoon before a similar conference for Northeastern Ontario starts Wednesday in Sudbury.




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Comments

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hockeyskates says:
To suggest that Queens Park has been an impediment to growth in the north is hard to comprehend. Without Queens Park support we would look like Beardmore on a Saturday night.

Thunder Bay has the second lowest unemployment rate in Ontario. About 2 out of 3 full time jobs are in the public sector. These are good paying union supported jobs. So I for one do not want Queens Park to "get out of my face". Our partnerships with the province have been a largely beneficial for the north.





6/14/2011 6:18:41 PM
Thunder King says:
It's a good short-term bandaid solution to get people back to work. In the long-term, having 2 out of 3 jobs in the public sector is not sustainable. We need more private development and we need to be more creative in the types of jobs we attract to our city and region.

We cannot hold out hoping for more Bombardier jobs. Knowledge sector jobs are nice and pay well, but will not be plentiful enough to sustain a large city, especially with the global competition we face. Forestry is pretty much dead, so long as Ontario keeps the price of hydro high. Mining is good too, but we can't rely on it. Tourism will add a bit to our economy, but we can't rely on that either, at least not without some radical changes that would really attract people here.

We must aim for a diverse, recession-proof economy that is based on innovation. An idea I've been advocating a lot recently is biofuel. Technology exists to turn wood into biofuel. Setting up a biofuel plant in Thunder Bay might not be a half bad idea, especially with gas prices what they are right now.
6/15/2011 4:34:25 AM
hockeyskates says:
Public sector employment provides the most recession resistant jobs out there. The Ottawa/Hull region is virtually recession proof.

There is an $18 Billion dollar shortfall in Ontario annually it is true. Mr Hudak may think that he can slash his budget, as Harris did in the mid 90s. But Mike had an assist from a huge growth in the private sector. Whereas now we are in the middle of a structural recession which could last for another decade. The private sector will not provide the jobs, that the public sector sheds.

So in summery, you dismiss the public sector jobs, you dismiss the manufacturing jobs like Bombardier which frankly is semi public sector job, and you suggest that we simply burn down the rest of the Boreal forest to make fuel for our trucks and cars. I think that is regressive thinking and I suggest that you have issues with the new knowledge based economy.

Remember that if you just take just three organization in Thunder Bay : Lakehead University, Confederation College and the Regional Health Centre and its research, they provide more high paying jobs than the mills ever did even in their hay day.


6/15/2011 2:05:03 PM
lori says:
careful hockeyskates, with words like that you will be accused of being a liberal cheerleader.

6/14/2011 10:44:23 PM
itshell says:
Hey "hockeyskates"...pull your head out of you know what...I am one of those use to be pulp and paper workers...when I started work in the forest industry...there was 10 mills operating at full capacity and probably close to 8000 directly employed...not counting all the jobs that were needed to service those ten mills...there are how many mills now operating and to boot under the threat of closer...as for your jobless numbers the only thing keeping them down is that a vast majority of skilled workers and others work outside of this city...I for one agree with the mayor of Kenora...if you do not live with the golden circle known as the GTA...you might as well live on the moon.
6/15/2011 7:15:48 AM
hockeyskates says:
What part of thousands of good public sector jobs do you have a problem with ? We have a much better employment situation than the GTA. You lost your job, I am sorry to hear that, but 93% of Thunder Bay has found one, and they are often good paying public sector jobs.

It is curious that the Mayor of Kenora is also a laid off mill worker. I wonder if bitterness is clouding your perspective here. You may be having difficulty with the notion that an industry has almost died and been replaced with a new economy.
6/15/2011 1:41:25 PM
ibrando says:
The provincial government love-in frequently attended by some posters to this site will come to an abrupt end in October as we begin to deal with our provinces' 200 billion dollar debt. That is not 'the sky is falling mentality' Lori it is fact.
6/15/2011 11:23:38 AM
lori says:
hi there IBRANDO, another liberal love in here.

I see you are concerned with debt levels. why are you never concerned with the federal debt levels or don't those count. See, it might be nice to be a tad consistent in the criticism.

what was Mr. Hudaks position on stimulous funding. Spend

What was Ms. Howarths position on stimulous spending, spend. Now they both wish to speak about debt and shortsighted folks like you think they will be the saviours.

As for cutting taxes and proper incentives as our head economist Gerry here outlines, it is called the HST, the one program that every expert in Canada said was necessary. Sorry Gerry, I tend to use facts to criticize supposition.

But for me, what did this gov't do when the "S" hit the fan. Well in this neck of the woods, more money, more services, more investment, more diversification, more new buildings, more new high paying jobs than at any time in our history. Our economy is in far better shape to withstand economic turmoil than at any time before.

If that is not good enough for people like you, vote for whoever you wish. But if you think a new gov't or a new MPP is going to get you the BILLIONS we have received, I want some of what you are smoking.

And Gerry from Kenora, thanks for your scientific study of what is happening in Ontario. Your 1/3 figure of course you can back up. Maybe we should cut 1/3 of doctors, nurses, teachers. Real jobs, well 500 real jobs were created at Bombardier. Hundreds upon hundreds were created in construction. The new services in health care to operate the new machines in health care are real jobs. The products they buy are real jobs.

But Gerry, you may not have seen this question but I save it for experts like you and IBRANDO. If these guys are so bad, find me a gov't that has been better for this region or T.Bay in the last 50 years or an MP or MPP that has been better for T.Bay in the last 50 years. I started asking this question around May 2009. To date, not one response. Please enlighten me.
6/16/2011 8:22:11 AM
Gerry from Kenora says:
Yes, HockeySkates, just what we need more bureaucrats - probably just like you. The Public Sector needs to be cut by 1/3, taxes lowered and proper incentives to let the private sector flourish. Those are real jobs, not the deficit-inducing ones you refer to. We also waste billions on Health Care and on Teachers - McSlime buys votes under the auspices we think these are important to the people of Ontario. Teachers in this Province average around $30,000.00 more per year than teachers in most other Provinces - why? Because the Liberals and Fat Cats like Gravelle use our money to bribe their votes.

Maybe the Liberals should do something to LOWER hydro Rates - and perhaps a few industries might actually consider locating here. The Ring of Fire Processing Facility will be in Quebec - guaranteed. Drop the stupid green energy plan, take the HST off of necessities and get out of the way. That is what the Government should do.
6/15/2011 11:40:44 AM
Gerry from Kenora says:
Yes, HockeySkates, just what we need more bureaucrats - probably just like you. The Public Sector needs to be cut by 1/3, taxes lowered and proper incentives to let the private sector flourish. Those are real jobs, not the deficit-inducing ones you refer to. We also waste billions on Health Care and on Teachers - McSlime buys votes under the auspices we think these are important to the people of Ontario. Teachers in this Province average around $30,000.00 more per year than teachers in most other Provinces - why? Because the Liberals and Fat Cats like Gravelle use our money to bribe their votes.

Maybe the Liberals should do something to LOWER hydro Rates - and perhaps a few industries might actually consider locating here. The Ring of Fire Processing Facility will be in Quebec - guaranteed. Drop the stupid green energy plan, take the HST off of necessities and get out of the way. That is what the Government should do.
6/15/2011 12:00:08 PM
ibrando says:
Wow Lori what a rant. "If these guys are so bad, find me a gov't that has been better for this region or T.Bay in the last 50 years or an MP or MPP that has been better for T.Bay in the last 50 years."
I'll put it right back at you. Find me a government in the last 50 years that has plunged our province further into debt. You don't seem to care about this. It is seniors like yourself, that figure who cares we'll just leave it to the next generations to pay, that are the real threat to our economic future.
6/20/2011 9:44:15 AM
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