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Councillor Mark King’s motion calling on the province to provide tax incentives for Northern Ontario passes unanimously

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Councillor Mark King’s motion that calls on the province to bring tax incentives to Northern Ontario passed unanimously at city council. The motion originated in Sault Ste. Marie, and looks at creating incentive programs to deal with the population decline in Northern Ontario. King mentioned the decentralization of government workers in the GTA as a way to create growth in the public sector as one way to deal with that issue. He says dealing with the lack of growth, and an influx of drug addicted people from larger centres as issues the city, and other northern cities, have to deal with.

Some councillors took issue with the tone of King’s motion, with Councillor Tanya Vrebosch asking who would want to come to North Bay after hearing what King had said. Vrebosch says they need to start being positive about economic development, and about investment. She says you can look of the reality of things, and the issues the city faces, but you have to have a positive message.

The biggest issue for King is a lack of private sector growth in the north, and that’s why he’s talking about the decentralization of government workers. He says there are 72,000 direct Province of Ontario workers right now, and there are a further 20,000 contract workers that work outside of different departments. King added he doesn’t see the province taking a firm stance on this issue due to the upcoming election in 2018, noting last week they seem to be doing everything they can to keep votes.

But that won’t stop King from reaching out to other municipalities to support this motion. He says at the recent NOSDA conference, he had the opportunity to talk to some other municipal leaders about these things. King says there was a good discussion between Mayor Al McDonald, Mayor Brian Bigger of Sudbury and Mayor Steve Black of Timmins. King finished by saying he knows some councillors in those cities, and has already reached out about supporting the motion.

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