NDP thinks premier's Sudbury visit purely strategic

An opposition MPP says the premier's visit to Sudbury was likely a strategic move to hang on to their Liberal seat.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is touring northern Ontario to talk about the economy

The premier inspects Canada's largest diamond, alongside Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci. The diamond was discovered earlier this year in Ontario's Victor Mine. (Hilary Duff/CBC)

An opposition MPP says Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's visit to Sudbury was likely a strategic move in an effort to hang on to the Liberal seat.

Wynne spent much of Thursday at Crossworks Manufacturing — North American's largest diamond manufacturing plant — as she kicked off her northern tour in Sudbury.

The factory employs 35 workers — about half of whom are Canadian and the rest are foreign workers, many from Vietnam.

Wynne said she was visiting the north to talk about the economy and pointed to the factory as a great example of government-business partnerships.

"We've been able to create opportunities for people who have come to this country with a huge skill, and also for local people to learn this very technical and precise skill," Wynne said.

However, New Democrat Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas said she was perplexed by Wynne's choice.

"There are very few people who come from the north who have learned and stayed in that trade and profession, so a weird place to talk about job creation," she said.

Gelinas said she believes Wynne's northern tour is mostly a strategic move before the next election.

The Sudbury riding was won by the Liberals in October 2011 by about 500 votes. But as MPP Rick Bartolucci prepares to retire his seat, the Liberals will be searching for a new candidate.

"This is something they would like to keep," said Gelinas. "They have resources, what they haven't got is support. I wouldn't be surprised if Wynne and other ministers come to Sudbury just to rally the troops."

Wynne remained quiet on the matter of a Liberal candidate when in Sudbury on Thursday

"When the time is appropriate, then people who are stepping up and who want to be part of the nomination process will let that be known," she said. "This has been a very strong and robust riding association, and they're well positioned to run a process."