In Sudbury on Tuesday, Premier Kathleen Wynne tied the success of her government to the successful development of the Ring of Fire.
Speaking at Northern Centre for Advanced Technology, Wynne was flanked by Sudbury candidate Andrew Olivier, Nickel Belt candidate James Tregonning, Timiskaming-Cochrane candidate Sébastien Goyer, as well as outgoing MPP Rick Bartolucci.
After touring the centre, Wynne fielded questions from a throng of local and provincial media. She compared the Ring of Fire to the Alberta Oilsands, a development which has received significant support from the federal government. Ontario is hoping for similar help, Wynne said, which would repair the province's relationship with the feds.
“That would be absolutely grounds for a positive relationship with the federal government,” she said. “We've put a billion dollars on the table (and) we would love to have a federal partner.”
But the province is committed to spending $1 billion for the Ring of Fire infrastructure, regardless of what Ottawa does, she added.
“The northeast, the northwest, all of the North – the whole province – will benefit from the development of the Ring of Fire,” Wynne said. “It is massive potential – $60 billion. And it's not just chromite, it's nickel, many, many minerals.
“If I have the privilege of being re-elected, I will not consider my premiership successful unless we have seen significant progress on the Ring of Fire. It's that important to us as a government.”
NORCAT is located on Maley Drive, where Wynne again promised $26.7 million in provincial funds to support the $125 Maley Drive extension project. She criticized NDP Leader Andrea Horwath for not supporting the Liberal budget that included money for Maley.
“She put this and many other infrastructure projects at risk, and she has not been able to explain why she did not support the budget,” Wynne said. “This project is a perfect example of the kind of investments we need to be making.”
In Sudbury on Monday, Horwath committed to funding Maley Drive should she form the next government.