Kathleen Wynne highlights Ring of Fire in platform launch

Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne launched her re-election platform Sunday, and in it she detailed some specifics on mining development plans for northern Ontario.
Kathleen Wynne takes questions from reporters after launching her platform at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne launched her re-election platform Sunday, and in it she detailed some specifics on mining development plans for northern Ontario.

Wynne told the cheering crowd in Thunder Bay how, if re-elected, her government would put forward $1 billion toward construction of a road corridor to Ontario's Ring of Fire region.

The Liberal government had already included that promise in its budget three weeks ago but, in that announcement, the money was contingent on securing matching federal funds.

"And so we have determined that this is such an important project that we need to go ahead with that investment of a billion dollars, with or without the federal government," Wynne said Sunday.

Wynne told reporters the she had been hopeful the federal government would invest in the Ring of Fire as it had with development of the Alberta oilsands, but the Harper government had not yet made any moves to help finance the mining project.

Development corporation promised

Wynne also re-launched the creation of the Ring of Fire development corporation. The corporation had been previously announced, but the Liberals now say they will create the consortium within 60 days of being elected.

Wynne said the entire province would benefit from mining development in the Ring of Fire, which would include creating employment for people in the northern and southern parts of the province.

"The ingenuity of the people in the north and the people who will come to the north to come to open up that Ring of Fire — it's boundless, quite frankly," she said.

The development corporation would include First Nations, key mining companies as well as provincial and federal governments.

Other items in Wynne's platform that focus on the north include continued expansions on Highway 11/17 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon, and having funding available for maintenance and repairs for roads and bridges in the north.