As we drive by the mill and watch its furious and rapid destruction, we might very well ask ourselves what came to pass that the mainstay of our economy must be razed to the ground.
It really doesn’t make sense. We live among plentiful forest resources, but we are no longer permitted to benefit economically.
The wood supply that should be allocated to Fort Frances has been seized by a ruthless and greedy corporation for its own benefit and diverted to its mills in Thunder Bay.
It’s as if the wood was owned by the corporation. But we know that our constitution says that natural resources belong to the people of the province. What went wrong?
Thanks to the tireless and highly accurate work of Mr. David Kircher we know much about how our community was betrayed.
One thing that we need to recognize is how monumentally we have been let down by our political leaders, who always hypocritically profess to have our best interests in their hearts.
The previous Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne allowed the extension of the forest licence without a proper forest audit. This bit of backroom illegality allowed wood to be diverted from Fort Frances to Thunder Bay. Both Thunder Bay ridings were held by Wynne’s Liberals. Jobs were lost in Fort Frances but preserved in key Liberal ridings.
In order for this situation never to be reversed, it was necessary to assure the complete obliteration of the Fort Frances mill. There is no Fort Frances destination for our wood supply. Whatever the economics of the mill, many knowledgeable persons aver that the kraft mill was still a viable profit centre. It might have been sold and continued to provide an economic benefit to Fort Frances, but NOT without a wood supply, which Resolute resolutely refused to relinquish.
The wood supply which rightfully belonged to the citizens of Fort Frances had been usurped by a ruthless corporation. The Liberal government allowed it to happen
One might well ask where was our own MPP whom we elected to look after our interests. This loss to Fort Frances should have been a matter of concern to her. Oh, sad story that, our MPP had completely lost interest in the job (except for cashing the paycheques). She had one of the worst attendance records of any MPP at the legislature. She was almost never there. The provincial NDP and Andrea Horvath were well aware that we lacked any real representation but their solution was to try and cover up the fact. The few workers left in the MPP’s offices were harassed by the party bosses and completely tied up in grievances and unable to speak out. The NDP let us down.
But the results of the last election gave us real hope. The new MPP for our riding, representing Fort Frances, NOT Thunder Bay, was elevated to the cabinet. He actually became the very powerful Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. Finally, we had a representative who could expose the shenanigans of the bureaucrats and the corporation and retrieve out wood supply. He could even call for a judicial enquiry and ferret out the truth.
So, we waited with bated breath for… nothing. He did absolutely nothing. In fact, it got worse. The Sustainable Forest Licence has had all reference to Fort Frances deleted. As far as Resolute and the politicians are concerned, we have ceased to exist.
As we watch the mill’s daily destruction, we know that our government, including all three major political parties, have failed us.
Rudolf K. F. Zeitlhofer