Municipal and First Nations leaders in northwestern Ontario say they are looking forward to working with Ontario’s new Liberal majority government to further their causes.
The Chief of the Fort William First Nation says she is "pleased to a certain degree" with Thursday’s election results, but wants to sit down immediately with MPP Bill Mauro to discuss the Big Thunder Wind Park.
Georjann Morriseau said she also wants to build trust between her community and the province.
"How we can strengthen these relationships with, between First Nations and the provincial government? What is that going to look like, and what does the long term framework look like between the two?"
Morriseau said her priorities include economic development and education — and the province can play a big role in addressing the two causes.
Keeping promises made
The president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association said he will ensure Liberal promises made for the north are kept.
Dave Canfield said there was lots of talk about mining and forestry during the election campaign.
Getting the two industries back up to speed is crucial for the region, particularly “workin' on the economy of northwestern Ontario — especially moving and driving the whole economy of Ontario,” he said.
“The future is in northern Ontario and I think Premier Wynne understands and knows that so, it's time to get the rubber to the road and get workin'."
Canfield said the province "has to come to the plate" to ensure mining progresses. He noted other projects, closer to Rainy River, deserve attention — not just the Ring of Fire.
The head of the Chiefs of Ontario said First Nations will demand consultation, consent, and economic benefits when it comes to development projects like the Ring of Fire.
Regional Chief Stan Beardy said First Nations have had a chance to build a strong relationship with the government. But he noted First Nations will also be clear about their expectations.
"We will expect and we will demand that we [are] all part of the global economy, [and] that if there's undertakings happening within our homelands, we expect to be part of that activity."
How many voted?
Voter turnout across northwestern Ontario was around the 50 per cent mark.
Thunder Bay-Superior North and Thunder Bay-Atikokan had 50.9 and 49.3 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot.
The turnout in Kenora - Rainy River was a little lower at 47.7 percent.