Community leaders who are taking part in the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association convention plan on bending the ears of provincial politicians Friday, as eight members of Premier Kathleen Wynne's cabinet — and the leaders of both Ontario opposition parties — will be in Thunder Bay to attend the event.
Incoming NOMA president Dave Canfield said he thinks their presence shows the north is becoming more important.
"The fact of the matter is that the future of Ontario is in rural and northern Ontario. It's not in that corridor between Windsor and Ottawa anymore," Canfield said.
"That future of the Golden Horseshoe is going to deteriorate. I mean it's the opportunity around our natural resources that is going to drive this province."
A total of eight ministers will participate in a forum on Friday afternoon, including Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Brad Duguid, Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle, Economic Development, Trade and Employment Minister Eric Hoskins, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Linda Jeffrey, Research and Innovation Minister Reza Moridi, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Glen Murray, Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti and Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath and PC leader Tim Hudak are also expected to address the delegates on Friday.
Northwestern Ontario municipal leaders have said they intend to discuss issues concerning property assessments, economic development and infrastructure with the provincial politicians.