Horwath promises to fight for the north

Horwath promises to fight for the north

By Garett WIlliams

October 5, 2011

In a final campaign swing through the north Tuesday, NDP leader Andrea Horwath accused Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak of "scare mongering" the electorate with talk of a Liberal-NDP coalition.

"Making accusations and trying to scare monger people before they go to vote doesn't work," said the New Democrat. "People are tired of being told how to vote and how not to vote. They're tired of being scared into how to make their decision, people deserve the respect to let them make their decision themselves and, the most important thing, is once they've made that decision, we have to work hard to make this a better province."

An Abacus Data poll released Tuesday showed the Liberals were on track to form a minority government, prompting the Tory leader to comment: "A Liberal-NDP coalition? This is going to end badly for Ontario families."

Horwath brushed aside what a minority government would look like, saying she'll leave it to the voters to decide the future make up of Queen's Park when ballots are cast Oct. 6.

"He's spending an awful lot of time talking about whether or not he's going to have power and who is going to have power and I think when you do that, you forget about what the important thing is how we're going to fix the province for the people," said Horwath.

The NDP leader was in Sudbury Tuesday morning before travelling to Thunder Bay in the afternoon for a final pitch of her Respect for the North platform, which would connect timber allocations to communities rather than businesses, strike the HST from electricity and home heating while easing the tax off gasoline and ensure First Nation communities reap the benefits from resources drawn from their territories.

She has also committed to repealing the Far North Act to be replaced with legislation northern municipalities, business and First Nation communities all support.

"It doesn't satisfy First Nations in terms of their role," she said. "What we've been set up for now is more and more and more of the same kinds of problems that are happening in KI (Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug) to continue to happen in the future and particularly around the ring of fire."

The band council in KI issued an eviction notice to God's Lake Resources in September after finding a prospectors camp on a burial site within its traditional territory. Six members of the KI band council were jailed in 2008 for blocking junior mining company Platinex from resources licenced to the company by the provincial government, which Horwath called an example of the Liberal government's poor leadership in the region.

"I am going to be fighting for the North every chance I get, regardless of what decision is made on Thursday," she said. "I am going to fight for our resource wealth to be putting food on the tables of northern families, I'm going to fight for buy Ontario policies that keep our good jobs in Ontario."