Jump to content

Time for Northern Ontario to Separate?


  

12 members have voted

You do not have permission to vote in this poll, or see the poll results. Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

Recommended Posts

Maybe it’s time for Northern Ontario to think about going it alone

In my 45 years of living in Ontario, I have never seen such a tremendous rift between its southern and northern halves. The corporate, media and political elites of Toronto have grown so out of touch with the economic hardships and challenges of the North that for the second time in my life I have come to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of Northern Ontario to secede from the south and form its own province.

When I was a teenager in the mid 1970s, I was sympathetic to the Northern Ontario Heritage Party. Ed Deibel, a North Bay businessman, unsuccessfully tried to separate from the south in order to establish social, economic and cultural justice for the distinct people of Northern Ontario.

Perhaps the time is right to revisit Ed Deibel’s worthy dream. A separate Northern Ontario would encompass approximately 85 per cent of the province’s land mass, using the French and Mattawa Rivers as the traditional boundary between north and south. With a population of roughly 838,812, according to the 2001 census, Canada’s eleventh province would be larger than New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland, and would be eligible for more money in federal equalization payments as a “have not province” than it currently receives from Queen’s Park.

It was Toronto Sun columnist Christina Blizzard’s recent article blandly stating that the North is a willing host for Toronto’s garbage that finally convinced me to revisit the issue of Northern separation. I feel the Toronto media’s southern, colonial arrogance towards the North is only fuelling the cultural differences between the two regions.

The North is as much a willing host for Toronto’s garbage as an under age crack addicted prostitute is to a middle aged john.

But our problems are deeper than southern ignorance. During the past five years, 40,000 people have left Northern Ontario due to lack of economic opportunities a modern version of the Highland clearings that took place in Scotland during the early 1800s or the Irish potato famine.

At a time when the GTA is choking on its own growth, housing is unaffordable, traffic and border crossings are paralyzed, many in the North wonder why more jobs couldn’t be located in their region.

Is there no vision in the south’s corporate and political leadership to address the economic problems of Northern Ontario?

How about expediting those tax incentive zones that would encourage economic development? How about transferring 5,000 provincial civil service jobs to the North and helping stabilize many of the one industry towns? How about encouraging corporate call centres to locate or relocate in the North by extending tax incentives?

It is actually quite pathetic to see Toronto, the wealthiest city in Canada, aggressively courting low end call centre jobs. Those opportunities should be redirected to Northern Ontario, helping the diversification of many smaller communities and offering a much more affordable standard of living to the hourly wage earning workers.

The cancellation of the spring bear hunt is another example of southern political arrogance $50 million eliminated from the Northern tourism economy without adequate compensation to make up for the loss.

Sweden and Finland have innovative approach to northern districts

Sweden and Finland have an entirely different and creative approach to their northern regions. They heavily invest in northern universities, knowing that the engineering, medical and legal faculties will encourage people to stay and create jobs in their northern regions.

The province could do the same and begin with establishing a modern $50 million mining engineering school at Sudbury’s Laurentian University, just as Laurentian economist David Robinson suggests. It would enhance the city’s status as a centre of mining excellence and eventually generate start up companies. Engineering faculties in North America are reknowned as generators of new companies and jobs.

Ontario has established a joint medical school for Sudbury and Thunder Bay, to be sure a positive initiative. However, the constant delays in building the new one site Sudbury Regional Hospital in which these new doctors will be trained is no closer to completion than two years ago. In fact, medical school classes are likely to begin before the hospital is completed.

A technology program dedicated to the secondary manufacture of wood products should be set up with the local college or university in Thunder Bay, the centre of some of North America’s richest forests. Currently, Northern Ontario predominately exports raw lumber instead of finished goods like furniture, flooring and building supplies. Other provinces and border states actively promote the secondary manufacturing of wood products, with government sponsored trade associations and export offices Ontario does nothing in this realm for economic development.

Sudbury larger than P.E.I.

The arguments for a separate Northern Ontario are many. In fact Greater Sudbury, at $4.5 billion, has a larger gross domestic product than P.E.I. ($3.5 billion).

The federal government spent billions connecting P.E.I. to the mainland, and has so far offered not one penny to help four lane Highway 69 South, the gateway route to northeastern Ontario that remains a single lane death trap, inhibiting economic development.

The North is tired and resentful of being viewed as just a summer playground for southerners and is very bitter seeing their sons and daughters migrating to the south to find employment.

Northern Ontario makes up only eight per cent of Ontario’s population and will always be outnumbered by the south. The North’s resource and economic issues will always be of secondary importance to the south.

The migration of 40,000 people in the past five years is glaring evidence that the current policies are not working. If southern Ontario cannot come up with effective economic policies for northern development, other than being a garbage dump for Toronto’s trash, then the time has come for the North to separate and become the master of its own destiny.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 16th, 2009 at 3:29 pm and is filed under Northern Ontario Separation, Stan Sudol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 64
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

They couldn't simply become a province. That would require the consent of all the other provinces, and the federal parliament. They also couldn't separate and become a territory, as, again, it would alter the makeup of the provinces.

Also, I find it interesting that you say that Toronto has grown to be out of touch. Wasn't it you arguing that what the majority wants is pretty much always right? Maybe it isn't Toronto that's out of touch.

Edited by Smallc
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They couldn't simply become a province. That would require the consent of all the other provinces, and the federal parliament. They also couldn't separate and become a territory, as, again, it would alter the makeup of the provinces.

Adding another province is pretty simple overall.

Also, I find it interesting that you say that Toronto has grown to be out of touch. Wasn't it you arguing that what the majority wants is pretty much always right? Maybe it isn't Toronto that's out of touch.

I didn't write the article and you have an interesting take on what constitutes a majority. The choice of Northern Ontarians to secede would be their choice and not Toronto's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Adding another province is pretty simple overall.

No, it isn't. Your trying to pretend so doesn't make it that way.

I didn't write the article and you have an interesting take on what constitutes a majority. The choice of Northern Ontarians to secede would be their choice and not Toronto's.

Last I checked, Ontario was currently one province. Drawing imaginary lines between northern and southern Ontario doesn't suddenly separate the population of the province. Southern Ontario contains a majority of the population. Northern Ontario doesn't. As long as the rights of people in northern areas of Ontario aren't being trampled on, the majority gets what it wants.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, it isn't. Your trying to pretend so doesn't make it that way.

If it was as hard as you claim NFLD wouldn't have been able to join and Nunavut wouldn't have been carved out of Bob.

Last I checked, Ontario was currently one province. Drawing imaginary lines between northern and southern Ontario doesn't suddenly separate the population of the province. Southern Ontario contains a majority of the population. Northern Ontario doesn't. As long as the rights of people in northern areas of Ontario aren't being trampled on, the majority gets what it wants.

The majority in Northern Ontario do not feel their wishes are being respected. When you travel to places like Kenora, Dryden and Thunder Bay they have absolutely no interest in being in Ontario at all and Winnipeg and Minneapolis are far more important cities then Toronto.

Edited by grainfedprairieboy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it was as hard as you claim NFLD wouldn't have been able to join and Nunavut wouldn't have been carved out of Bob.

Newfoundland was admitted before the Constitution Act, 1982 and the Clarity Act. Nunavut is not a province and did not in and did not alter anything about provincial relations in Canada.

The majority in Northern Ontario do not feel their wishes are being respected. When you travel to places like Kenora, Dryden and Thunder Bay they have absolutely no interest in being in Ontario at all and Winnipeg and Minneapolis are far more important cities then Toronto.

Again, there is no separation of Ontario at current, so you can't talk about a majority in part of a province. The provincial government operates on behalf of all Ontarians. Northern portions of Ontario gets a great deal of money, they simply don't get a majority of the money. Ottawa also helps pay for projects in that part of the province. This is a false crisis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a resident of a rural area that is rich in natural resources but poor in local authority over decisions on how opportunities to utilize or develop them are made, I can appreciate the sentiments towards separating.

In my region treaty settlements with First Nations involving huge tracts of land, control over the resources and self government are becoming the norm. This is a very powerful time for native people and the opportunities that exist for them right now in my region are almost breath-taking. I certainly don't begrudge native people their success, I applaud it and I'd like to follow their example.

Despite Brian Mulroney's famous description of the relationship between Canada and the First Nations as being nation to nation, the reality as I've been given to understand is that it's more akin to the relationship a senior government has with a municipality or a regional district. If that's the case I think this would make a good template for non-native communities and the lands and resources that surround them that were not ceded to native control.

There is an inherent adjacency principle at the heart of every First Nation treaty that I think should and could be applied to regional districts and municipalities. People in any given region should have a greater say over the land and resources they are adjacent to than people who don't live in that region. This was achieved with native people within our existing constitutional framework and without separating or breaking up Canada and I fail to see why this couldn't be the norm for everyone.

Edited by eyeball
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The majority in Northern Ontario do not feel their wishes are being respected. When you travel to places like Kenora, Dryden and Thunder Bay they have absolutely no interest in being in Ontario at all and Winnipeg and Minneapolis are far more important cities then Toronto.

I can see how this could be possibly true of Thunder Bay, since it is so far west, but I'd be amazed if this were generally true of Northern Ontario. Even with Thunder Bay, it only makes sense to me to the same extent that many people in Buffalo feel closer to Toronto than to NYC. (TBH, I think upstate NY has more to complain about than Northern Ontario.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have more in common with Hamilton and St.Catherines than Toronto...

Should the Niagara Peninsula seperate from Ontario,as well?

Why should we have to spend the time and effort, Jack?

Wouldn't it be easier to just give Toronto the boot? :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wouldn't it be easier to just give Toronto the boot? :P

Toronto is like a "have" province, though. Is it fair to resent the people who pay the bills, who are under represented, and who aren't given proper attention by the Federal government ?

They recently downloaded a G20 conference on us, shut down the city and presented us with the bill.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to point out that the original post was NOT written by grainfedprairieboy, or it if was - it was cross posted here:

http://www.republicofmining.com/2009/02/16/northern-ontario-separation-by-stan-sudol/

Just to point out, I placed the author, date and location in italics at the bottom of the article in the OP.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can see how this could be possibly true of Thunder Bay, since it is so far west, but I'd be amazed if this were generally true of Northern Ontario. Even with Thunder Bay, it only makes sense to me to the same extent that many people in Buffalo feel closer to Toronto than to NYC. (TBH, I think upstate NY has more to complain about than Northern Ontario.)

Have you ever travelled that road? (Or perhaps more importantly, needed car repairs along that road?) The connection with Winnipeg abd Minneapolis is very tangible. Entry into the Ontario economic zone occurs ... eh... someplace east of Nipigon, and you're still pretty much adrift among the outer planets until you hang that right turn at Sudbury.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Indian Country. - most of the North is actually indian country due to a failure of recognition of the lake superior watershed. Most of the north flows to James Bay naturally not Lake Superior.

2. Where is the North boundry - most of Ontario has been part of Upper Canada since the takeover of the Canadas? Where do you set that boundry?

3. Can people north of that Boundry actually support their own government - government is expensive and municipalities of those areas rely on Provincial handouts for basic service provision. You talk about jobs, but more jobs means more taxes if they are government jobs. Is it really going to be a benefit to pay more in taxes so your people are the ones pulling the shots? Unless you propose another way of forming government.

4. What of police services would all the Northern OPP stations suddenly be non policed? How do you manage basic service provision?

5. Would it actually benefit the North? Where are the transfers of monies? Is more paid by the North or more recieved by the North?

6. What is this a 3 or 4 seat province? Who will manage local government?

"How about expediting those tax incentive zones that would encourage economic development?"

Why not just offer subsidies for those when they sign on to a deal? I'm all for royalties - but by economic development do you mean strip mines and clear cutting? Is there some reason why you can't just set an equal playing field? If it is economically viable in one area, why not another? What is missing here? Central ontario is just as far away from resources as southern ontario or northern alebrta or northen BC or the territories. I'd like to see the examples of where the current structure creates cost prohibitions on business operations. I havn't seen them, they may exist, just show me how it actually does it rather than being rhetoric. Everywhere is taxed, how are these taxes unequal?

"How about transferring 5,000 provincial civil service jobs to the North and helping stabilize many of the one industry towns?"

Where is the infrastructure for this, also what is the effect of source out to one community - what happens if this community suffers some type of disaster? Surely there are already some capacities for service ontario to operate there - however there is the communication issue, but also increased cost of operation. You see most of the population lives in the South, so there may be mail outs etc.. Not all government communication is by email, and many of the remote communities have delivery times of at shortest about 3 days to longest 7 or more days. There may be some service sectors; however, it really is less efficient - unnless you can demonstrate how it is better for everyone. Why not just give money if you are loosing that much anyway by employing them there. Why don't they move to the south if they want the jobs --- also why hirer someone with out a degree in political science or social services if that is what is required. What of the 5000 jobs are best serviced in the north - service delivery is one part, and it is what all ontarians should be considering. There are potentials for work but why stabalize an area that is artificial and non economical? Why keep a one industry town operating if it is now a 0 industry town? There are benefits in some cases, however migrating long term positions - that is how do you migrate - you can't just fire everyone and give the other people the work, hopefully you wouldn't see that as right for yourself - however you can migrate some work for instance the new "transcription services" court reporters however don't like this, this woulnd't stop people from farming transcription services in the norht - helping with e health initatives, or doing other "telecommuniting work" this is one option, but it can't be sole sourced because of the remote nature and time delay in servicing the area in emergency situations. Thunder Bay (a northern community) has a huge segment of ontarios civil service employed there.

" How about encouraging corporate call centres to locate or relocate in the North by extending tax incentives?"

It is their business. Why relocate north when you can relocate to india? Loosing jobs in one area doesn't help make jobs in another. Why not take a lower pay rate? or start your own call center and pay higher employee wages. more business operating expenses means less taxes.

"The cancellation of the spring bear hunt is another example of southern political arrogance $50 million eliminated from the Northern tourism economy without adequate compensation to make up for the loss."

Why did this happen?

"Sweden and Finland have innovative approach to northern districts

Sweden and Finland have an entirely different and creative approach to their northern regions. They heavily invest in northern universities, knowing that the engineering, medical and legal faculties will encourage people to stay and create jobs in their northern regions." What are the populations of the north areas of finland and sweden (as opposed to their southern areas..) btw lakehead is 3-6 hours from the middle of nowhere - starting a nuniversity for 500 people where even branch offices can service ain't exactly not working - fact is that Northerners have lots of educational oppourtunities on par with the rest of ontario, and are given some incentives that others arn't such as distance allowances. This is a very non representative rhetorical comment. Well populated areas of Ontario even have difficulty offering post secondary studies - and there is ample space for local students - the reality is many students leave home for post secondary studies. When your largest communities are only about 5000 that is an issue to offer a "quality" institution, that is only a portion of the population of some universities and colleges.

Since when do the existing post secondary facilities not adequately service northern communities? Where are these schools going, how is it going to be viable? This comes off as nothing other than ignorant absurdity. Is there a reason that engineering programs offered at Canadian universities do not adequettely serve the mining industry? Why is this? Perhaps this is something for the schools to address. How much nickle is left in sudbury? This ain't a bad idea at face value but really why do you need a "school of mining" with more than a face plate. Is there some reason laurentian wouldn't be able to self finance?

The only way I can see starting new universities working is allowing intensive immigration of foreign nationals such as the chinese - but do northerns especially the more xenophobit type really want 20,000 Chinese students in their community of 5000. That there - is - a working business model. It may not be political viable though.

"A technology program dedicated to the secondary manufacture of wood products should be set up with the local college or university in Thunder Bay, the centre of some of North America’s richest forests. Currently, Northern Ontario predominately exports raw lumber instead of finished goods like furniture, flooring and building supplies. Other provinces and border states actively promote the secondary manufacturing of wood products, with government sponsored trade associations and export offices Ontario does nothing in this realm for economic development."

Once again there is nothing stoping a school from doing this or applying for a grant to do so... really though what is required ---- why not just set up a crown corporation for finishing and let co-ops train there --- the issue here is "TOOL AND DIE" manufacturing --- since when are products hand made for heavy economic effect since 1600 France.

"Sudbury larger than P.E.I.

The arguments for a separate Northern Ontario are many. In fact Greater Sudbury, at $4.5 billion, has a larger gross domestic product than P.E.I. ($3.5 billion)."

This is a good point. PEI is also an island.

"The federal government spent billions connecting P.E.I. to the mainland, and has so far offered not one penny to help four lane Highway 69 South, the gateway route to northeastern Ontario that remains a single lane death trap, inhibiting economic development."

I've driven on those roads and up to this point have had no issue with getting in and around there.. although better roadsigns would help in remote areas north of Sudbury. (ex. roadsigns with maps so you can pull over and look to see where you are and where a road will take you)

OVER 1 billion just went into expanding the highway from thunder bay to lake nipigon --- an awsome road... all windy next to drop offs and clifs with fog etc.. it is safe to drive on up to 160kmph though or more at night, not exactly a death trap but far more "dangerous" than highway 69 where you only have to worry about rocks.

"The North is tired and resentful of being viewed as just a summer playground for southerners and is very bitter seeing their sons and daughters migrating to the south to find employment."

Hey I guess it is good the bear hunt was cancled then huh? Well the thing to do then is to start businesses... why are you expecting the government to do everything for you, how do you expect to manage a government when you can't do it yourself. How does forming a government suddenly give you everything you want? You think lowering taxes will pay for your government jobs? Provincial management relies not on government employment but instead creating a stable social environment - one where everyone has the same opportunity to engage in activities under the same law. Why doesn't the government just employ people by setting up crown corporations in those 1 industry towns? Why lower taxes for private businesses? I'm all for tax reduction but the bottom line is, if there is no demand you need demand,, who is buying your product.. that is the bottom line. I know I know - how about the government. How is a finally finished table for the office or chair for the office... hand carbed, isn't that posh.... I'm down for that... but isn't plastic cheaper... I'd be down for self supply at a profit margin. I'd support something like that eg. crown corp for supply of natural product - but the thing is here... is it a better option than ikea? Can you honestly compete? Overall why not just work at Ikea in Toronto than as a table manufacturer in timbucktoo

Hey people like to live up there perhaps sure... and that is all good - get it going.. that is business. Can ou not survive from your own economy? Is that part of the reason why running your own government won't work.

Make connections with one another in the north barter etc.. that is where you will start to wonder if trading to your brother is better so they have what they want is better than making 10$ so you can buy something tomorrow.

ISSUE GLOBAL MEGA INDUSTRIES. That is the norths self sufficiency problem - they are tied into a global market - this isn't a provincial issue it is a "global economic issue" who is buying your product --- who is selling your product?

"Northern Ontario makes up only eight per cent of Ontario’s population and will always be outnumbered by the south. The North’s resource and economic issues will always be of secondary importance to the south." The south is not just "the south" it is cities. Each city is much like "THE NORTH". There are many a seats, and everyone is much the same, concerned about their own economies. Trade is easier when you are closer, that is the difference. Removing yourself from a simple regulatory framework may only add barriers to doing business especially with the south. There are still federal regulations to deal with.

"The migration of 40,000 people in the past five years is glaring evidence that the current policies are not working. If southern Ontario cannot come up with effective economic policies for northern development, other than being a garbage dump for Toronto’s trash, then the time has come for the North to separate and become the master of its own destiny.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 16th, 2009 at 3:29 pm and is filed under Northern Ontario Separation, Stan Sudol.

Toronto is just one part of Ontario, perhaps instead of working against the south you can start to work with it, and with yourself.

Division doesn't make efficiency - unity does.

"The Ontario Public Service (OPS) manages and delivers government programs and services to the people in Canada's most populous province. The non-partisan professional body provides advice and support to the government elected by the people of Ontario. Employees of the Ontario Public Service help implement and develop the policies, programs and services that the provincial government provides to Ontario residents. Working from over 1,800 locations across the province, OPS employees come from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds, including, social workers, engineers, forestry workers, teachers, lawyers and policy analysts, and many more. Today, the Ontario Public Service is comprised of over 25 Ministries with more than 65,000 employees -- making it one of Ontario's largest employers.

Industry: Other General Government Support. Established: 1867. Major Canadian hiring locations: Toronto ON, Oshawa ON, Peterborough ON, Sudbury ON, Thunder Bay ON, Kingston ON, London ON, Guelph ON, Cornwall ON, Ottawa ON, St. Catharines ON, Windsor ON, Hamilton ON. Full-time employees in Canada: 64,725. Part-time employees in Canada: 1,915. New jobs created in Canada last year: 219. Voluntary employee turnover last year: 4.1%. Longest serving employee: 48 years. Workforce engaged on a contract basis: 14%. Number of applications received at this location last year: 650,313. Percentage of employees who are women: 54%. Of managers: 52%. Of directors: 49%. Percentage of employees who are visible minorities: 15%. Of managers: 15%. Of directors: 11%. Average age of all employees: 45."

#3 and #4 for only 8% of the population I'd say of the 65,000 the north probably have a more than representative segment.

Edited by William Ashley
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Tell a friend

    Love Repolitics.com - Discussion Forums? Tell a friend!
×
×
  • Create New...