NDP Northern Development critic Michael Mantha is urging the Ford government to act now in Fort Frances.
Mantha said the Ford Conservatives must ensure that mills and forestry operations have the wood they need to operate and support the hundreds of direct and indirect jobs that depend on them.
“Over the last 15 years, mills and forestry operations have closed all over Northwestern Ontario,” he noted.
“That includes at least five in Thunder Bay, two in Dryden, two in Kenora, and one in Sioux Lookout.”
Those closures came with devastating job losses that hurt thousands of families.
“Now, the Ford government is acting like the Liberals—sitting on their hands instead of taking action to revitalize the province's forestry and natural resource sectors and creating much-needed jobs throughout the north,” Mantha charged.
He noted the provincial government controls the licensing of wood rights on Crown lands, adding it has a legal obligation to involve First Nations' communities in meaningful consultations in the decision-making process for new development.
“Instead, Doug Ford and his MPP in Kenora-Rainy River are going backwards in their relations with First Nations' communities, and they are refusing to take action to resolve the issue in Fort Frances,” Mantha stressed.
He noted the Ford government needs to ensure that mills and forestry operations in the region have the wood fibre they need to continue working.
“Families who depend on forestry in Fort Frances, and across Northwestern Ontario, are waiting for an answer,” Mantha said.