Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains reaffirmed that the federal government is still committed to the Ring of Fire project during a recent trip to North Bay. The Ring of Fire project is expected to generate nearly $2-billion in tax revenues and up to 5,500 full-time jobs in the first 10 years of mining activity according to reports. Bains and Nipissing-Temiskaming MP Anthony Rota called the Ring of Fire a process that will take time. However, Ontario’s provincial budget was released last week and contained no mention of the Ring of Fire which has lead to questions about its future. Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus was recently in North Bay for his Got Your Back tour while he vies for the leadership of the federal NDP party, and was asked about the development near his neck of the woods.
Angus says the Ring of Fire is a perfect example of the failure of lazy economics by the Wynne and Trudeau governments by showing a complete lack of interest in developing the chromite project. He says there’s a couple of steps that need to be done first in order to get the Ring of Fire going. First, Angus says they have to insist that there are going to be proper environmental rules in place. Then the Indigenous communities in surrounding areas are going to be a part of this project. Those communities include the Webequie First Nation, Neskantaga First Nation, and Marten Falls First Nation. Angus says if a road is built to the mine, the people in the surrounding communities should have access to it. He continued to say if hydro services are set up in the area, those communities should have access to it as well. Angus also stressed the importance of processing the resources in Canada and not shipping them to China. To do that, Angus mentioned using the ONTC here in North Bay by extending the provincial railway mandate to work into the Ring of Fire.
Angus says that’s government investment working with the private sector and indigenous peoples to build sustainable long term jobs, but he added were not seeing that from Liberals and Conservatives. He says they’re basically sitting on the sidelines watching lazily, hoping that maybe the government of China or the private sector will do the hard work for them. Angus says what we need is public investment to make this happen. Angus finished by saying the idea that these resources would be taken and put on a boat to China for processing won’t happen on his watch. He says Northerners have been forced to give away too many resources, and too many good jobs. Angus says Northerners have to be more than hewers of wood and diggers of holes, they have to insist they get value out of jobs for anything that’s going to be developed here.