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Province must act

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If Ontario is open for business, Greg Rickford, our member of Provincial Parliament, must impress upon Doug Ford and his colleagues at Queen's Park that the Ontario government cannot stand idly by while a Quebec company monopolizes Northwestern Ontario's forests and makes it impossible to restart the Fort Frances mill and provide hundreds of jobs across the Rainy River District.

Resolute Forest Products have now done everything to move wood from the Crossroute Forest to their mills in Atikokan and Thunder Bay.

By way of this restrictive covenant agreement, Resolute has made themselves the biggest purchaser of wood from the forest and potentially will be able to bid the price of fibre down in the future.

With the restrictive covenant agreement with Riversedge, Resolute has established a monopoly over the forest and Riversedge is a complicit party to the monopoly.

With the agreement, it's become impossible to use the property for related wood fibre processing.

The restrictive covenant agreement between Resolute Forest Products and Riversedge (2670568 Ontario Limited) should be challenged with an application to the Competition Tribunal on the grounds of abuse of a dominant position.

Any Resolute employee sitting or participating as a member of the Enhanced Sustainable Forest License renewal for the Crossroute Forest has a clear conflict of interest and should abstain from any further participation on the committee.

In addition, the Minister of Natural Resouces, the Minister of Northern Affairs, Ministry of Energy and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs should request an Order in Council from the province removing Resolute Forest Products from removing any fibre now—and in the future—from the Crossroute Forest to send to mills in Atikokan and Thunder Bay until such time and the restrictive covenant agreement is removed from the properties and the mill located in Fort Frances can be sold and restarted.

—Jim Cumming

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