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Key meeting

Politicians in this region hope an hour-long meeting with the Premier will go a long way to help Northwestern Ontario.
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NOMA president David Canfield said a recent meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne went well. (Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com)

Politicians in this region hope an hour-long meeting with the Premier will go a long way to help Northwestern Ontario.

Members of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association met with Kathleen Wynne in Toronto Tuesday during a lobbying day at Queen's Park. President David Canfield said the group focused on the region's energy needs, mining and an opportunity to revitalize the forestry sector.

With forests in British Columbia expected to be plagued by the pine beetle in 2015, Ontario's forestry industry could come back with a vengeance, but only if sawmills in the region looking to restart have access to wood, something that's been difficult so far.

Canfield sees the next year as a critical time to get ready for the opportunity or it will go to another province. Right now less than half of the province's 26 million cubic metres of wood is being used.

"If we don't do it we're going to lose it to another jurisdiction," he said.

"The province has dropped the ball they've got to pick it up and they've got to get moving."

On mining NOMA told the province to not be discouraged by Cliffs Natural Resources and its recent halt in the Ring of Fire. Canfield said there are a lot of other companies in the region that are still going.
"Go with the ones that are ready to go," he said.

Canfield said if the Ring of Fire were in Southern Ontario the infrastructure would already in place with the help of the province though.

"It would be done, we wouldn't be talking about it two years later," he said.

As for energy, NOMA showed provincial politicians a video about the expected demand and the future of the Thunder Bay Generating Station.

Canfield added that Wynne seemed very receptive and told NOMA that announcements are expected soon.