Budget all but ignores Northern Ontario: Hughes

Ottawa – Yesterday’s budget amounts to status quo for Northern Ontario when what the region needs is a commitment to developing a better employment base and protecting those jobs that already exist, according to Carol Hughes.

The MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing expressed disappointment that the Conservatives have prioritized creating a 2015 pre-election budget surplus ahead of developing the Ring of Fire which promise to bring good jobs to a chronically under-employed part of Northern Ontario.

Hughes brought her concerns about the lack of commitment to the Ring of Fire in the budget to Question Period where she said the budget snub is in keeping with stalled Conservative commitments on the project.

“It is clear that the potential for resource development in the Ring of Fire is important,” said Hughes. “But to develop this project sustainably, it is important that First Nations communities are a major partner. Despite Conservative promises to revive talks there has been no action.”

Hughes worries that job creation is a distant consideration for the government who have more or less put the country on hold while they build a surplus to hand out pre-election goodies next year.  

“Yesterday's budget does nothing to make things happen in the Ring of Fire,” said Hughes. “What is the Conservative plan to put this project on track?”

Hughes says that the Ring of Fire is the marquee development project for the region and feels that if there is no cash for a project with so much potential benefit, it sends a strong message about how this government views the region.