North doesn’t need yet another study

I sometimes wonder if I’ve read too many government reports.
Over the weekend, for instance, I read my way through the proposed Growth Plan for Northern Ontario. The government is looking for comments from citizens of the north at community meetings to be held across Northern Ontario.
This report follows up on the report compiled by Dr. Bob Rosehart that was completed in August.
The issue with the Rosehart report was that it covered only the needs of Northwestern Ontario. This new report covers the needs of all of Northern Ontario.
The proposed Growth Plan for Northern Ontario is a 25-year plan to stabilize and grow the population of the north. But most of the recommendations on transportation, health, education, First Nations, forestry, mining, and energy can be found in the study completed only a few months earlier.
It is comforting to know that whether the government is Liberal “red” or Tory “blue,” they believe the cure for all of Northern Ontario’s issues is to propose another study and strategy development.
I strongly support that Northern Ontario should have a vibrant, growing economy that competes in the world. I strongly believe we need more universities committed to doing research on developing alternate uses for our forests and creating new products from the fibre of the trees.
I believe it is necessary for the province to connect all communities by year-round roads so that even the most isolated can enjoy improved health care, and access to less expensive fuel and groceries.
I suggest that building roads will enhance the opportunities for aboriginal people to receive more post-secondary education, returning to their communities as teachers, lawyers, nurses, and doctors to improve the quality of life.
I believe that expanding the broadband spectrum to world standards will assist in education, in health, in developing businesses, and doing business around the world. Whether you are a trucker delivering forest products, an engineer designing new mining fields, or a student, the need for broadband Internet access is more important than ever.
We know the north is rich in minerals—and extracting those minerals will be key to our growth. In today’s “green” world, however, we must make certain that in removing these minerals, every step is taken to protect the environment.
And that the process of approving mining proposals must take place with the participation of all stakeholders.
And I believe that once the ore is out of the ground, it should be processed in the north, as should all fibre harvested in the forests.
I suggest we can build on our tourist industry. But in order to build on it, many of our operators will have to modernize to meet the changing needs of their guests.
And I suggest that the government should expend more effort to make U.S. residents comfortable in choosing to travel to Canada, and Ontario in particular.
I believe in the north. I just don’t think we need another study to tell us what we already know.
Governments tend to study issues if they don’t want to act on the problems. Two studies in two years really tells me the government does not want to act on the difficult issues facing Northern Ontario.

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