Latest Policy Bytes

Governance Options for the Ring of Fire

July 16, 2014 - Many questions abound when it comes to the issue of mineral development in the Ring of Fire (RoF) region of Northern Ontario. These questions – which are top of mind for many in industry, government, academia – include concerns about who will pay for the necessary infrastructure and how it will be organized, planned, managed and implemented. All big issues. In a paper I recently wrote for the Northern Policy Institute on the topic, I suggest a properly-designed transportation Authority model could be more effective than a traditional Crown corporation to meet the infrastructure needs in the RoF. The Authority model would maintain the same core elements as formulated in federal Airport/Port Authorities, but would obviously need to be tailored to fit the unique challenges of RoF development. An effective model would place the onus and risks on all the stakeholders and not just the provincial government and taxpayers, while maintaining elements of independence, inclusiveness, risk sharing, market-driven, political independence and legislated legally-binding powers.

Focus on Growing, Diversifying and Partnerships: Agriculture and Food Processing in Northern Ontario

June 2, 2014 - In support of efforts by the Province to identify the challenges and opportunities regarding the agriculture and food processing sector, an inaugural conference was recently held in Dryden, Ontario to shed light on new development strategies. The ‘For the Love of Food & Farming’ conference was organized by the Kenora District Soil & Crop Improvement Association with the support from the Dryden District Agricultural Society, Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op, Dryden District Horticultural Society and Food land Ontario. There were several speakers in attendance that shared a wealth of knowledge, but those guests who spoke specifically to Northern Ontario were: Leo Hunnakko, an expert in northern climate greenhouse design, Jen Springett, President of Cloverbelt Local Co-op, and Alan Mol, President of Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.

What is NPI?

May 13, 2014 - Let’s start with what NPI is NOT.

The North - What's to Debate?

May 25, 2014 - I find the whole idea of a “Northern Debate” a bit condescending. It smacks of the paternalistic attitude that many in Southern Ontario seem to hold towards Northern Ontario. It is as if we here in Northern Ontario are being patted on the head and told “yes dear, we will get to YOUR concerns too, after we deal with the real problems down south”. Somehow minimum wage, high debt, high taxes, high power rates, the demographic crunch, and youth unemployment don’t matter up here. They are “provincial issues” more suitable to a “larger stage”.