EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a letter from Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle concerning the Progressive Conservative white paper ‘Paths to Prosperity: A Champion for Northern Jobs and Resources’ released last Monday.
To the Expositor:
Mr. Hudak simply doesn’t know the facts. Our commitment is clear—we are going to continue to support economic growth throughout Northern Ontario by investing in people, investing in infrastructure and by supporting business to help create jobs.
Since 2003, our government has invested more than $890 million through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to leverage $3.2 billion in investment, creating and sustaining 23,000 jobs. Through the Northern Highways Program, over $5 billion has been invested to rebuild bridges and strengthen vital links across the North. This includes critical four-laning projects which ensure the safety of those travelling on our roads remains a priority.
Our government continues to build on this strong record. In the past few months alone, we have opened the first Law and Architecture Schools in Northern Ontario and created a new $100 million fund to support rural and northern communities to build roads and bridges. In the 2013 Budget, our government announced $500 million to support Northern Highways, $100 million for the NOHFC to support job creation and extended the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program to continue our support for industry, creating a strong environment for them to do business in.
In the last 10 years alone, 23 new mines have opened with eight more set to come online in the next few years. There are tremendous opportunities coming to the North that will significantly benefit not only our region but the entire province and our government is laying the groundwork to ensure these benefits are not only realized but maximized. We are committed to the development of the Ring of Fire which will result in thousands of direct and indirect jobs and economic development opportunities for Northerners and First Nations Communities. However, this work must be done right from the start, and that includes working with all our partners to ensure people have the right skills to make this project a success.”Michael Gravelle Minister of Northern Development and Mines