We must roar

The plane was quiet on the trip home from Toronto.
The reality was setting in. The adrenalin that coursed through the veins of the district delegates for a day-and-a-half had dissolved.
The delegation had made its case to transfer the Crossroute Forest away from Resolute.
The two opposition parties, meanwhile, had pummelled the Liberal government during Question Period yesterday morning over the loss of $100 million in investment in the Fort Frances mill that would have created 200 direct mill jobs and another 800 ancillary ones across Rainy River District.
In the background, unseen forces had been at work to have the press conference cancelled. And when those efforts failed, Premier Kathleen Wynne hastily called the press to her office to announce she was handing out letters to parliamentary assistants.
It was a successful ploy to draw the media away from the panel of Mayor Avis, Chief Mainville, Chief Big George, and student Mira Donaldson.
Neither Premier Wynne nor Natural Resources and Forestry minister Bill Mauro appeared willing to aid the communities of Rainy River District during Question Period.
While lauding her government’s record to attract foreign investment to Ontario, the premier appeared not wanting to assist Expera Specialty Products—a Wisconsin-based company willing to spend $100 million to locate to Rainy River District.
Premier Wynne felt that with her one visit to Fort Frances, she felt she could relate to the loss of jobs in the region, the downturn in the economy, and the loss of the kraft and paper mills in Fort Frances.
Minister Mauro kept telling everyone that even if the forest was transferred from Resolute, there was no guarantees a deal could be brokered between Resolute and Expera.
When local MPP Sarah Campbell asked the premier to find time yesterday to meet with the First Nation chiefs and the mayors of the Rainy River District, Kathleen Wynne declined to answer.
Minister Mauro did meet with Chief Sarah Mainville, Chief Patricia Big George, Mayor Roy Avis, and Emo Coun. Anthony Leek to talk about the forest and negotiations.
It was a very informative meeting, with a good exchange of information between the delegation and the ministers. New information was received by Minister Mauro regarding the existing terms of the Crossroute Forest licence.
Although more than 700,000 cubic metres of wood had been offered up, the minister was not aware of whether that wood would be affordable to Expera.
The delegation left the meeting with the understanding that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, along with the minister, had much work ahead of them to understand the options the minister had with regard to the license and the requirements that Resolute had agreed to in signing the Crossroute Forest licence.
But the ball also is in the court of district residents. We have to let all the parties at Queen’s Park know how important the mill and the Crossroute Forest are to the citizens of our district.
We have to roar to be heard.
The contact list to send e-mails, letters, or phone calls to can be found in an ad elsewhere in today’s edition of the Times.

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