Horwath promises development in northern Ontario platform

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:57 PM ET

THUNDER BAY, Ont — Restarting the costly Northlander train service and developing the mineral-rich Ring of Fire are among the top priorities on the NDP's list for northern Ontario.

Leader Andrew Horwath announced her party's northern Ontario platform in Thunder Bay on Monday morning. In a release, Horwath said the plan "focuses on the priorities that northerners told us were important to them," including jobs, better health care and "helping making life more affordable."

That includes $1 billion or more investment in the Ring of Fire.

"We are going to be dogged in getting that Ring of Fire up and running, getting the infrastructure in place — not punting it off for another six years," Horwarth said in announcing the plan to a small crowd of vocal supporters. "There is 5,500 jobs there and New Democrats are going to make sure that we are putting that Ring of Fire development front and centre."

Other highlights include:

  • - Promoting Ring of Fire revenue-sharing with First Nations and other communities.
  • - Restarting the Northlander, a heavily subsidized passenger rail line that served several northern communities until it was shut down last year.
  • - Tax credits for forestry and mining industries.
  • - Connecting diesel-generator-dependent First Nation communities to Ontario's hydro system.

Horwath also used the opportunity to take a swipe at the Liberals' reputation in the north, and in the rest of the province.

"Voters do not want to re-elect a corrupt Liberal party that wasted billions of tax dollars on scandals to fix their own political problems while northerners are left to pay skyrocketing electricity prices," Horwath said.

"For 10 long years the Liberals have put corruption and scandal ahead of the priorities of northerners. Our plan is the only one that respects the priorities of hardworking families and will deliver results."

- with files from Lisa Mrazek


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