It seems inconceivable that the Ontario government would allow Resolute Forest Products to sell its Fort Frances mill for scrap rather than support a company that is willing to invest in the mill and the town of Fort Frances—and possibly provide hundreds of living wage jobs.
Of course, the crux of the matter is the wood basket. A forest products company cannot operate without a guaranteed fibre source and no one is going to invest tens of millions of dollars in re-opening the mill without it.
We own that wood basket, not Resolute.
Any company willing to take the risk of investing in Fort Frances and Ontario should be allowed to negotiate the rights to use our forests to the benefit of the Ontario taxpayers—the same taxpayers that invested $25 million to build a hog fuel boiler at the mill only to see Resolute shut the mill down a few years later.
Should Ontario's taxpayers not have a place at the negotiating table to determine the future of the mill? A pathetic comment by Greg Rickford saying that the government is keeping a close eye on the situation.
We don't need a close eye watching—we need our elected MPs and MPPs to get off their collective [butts] and defend the rights of the people who elected them. If our elected officials (yes, the ones that campaigned on job creation and honest representation) would take a stand and show a bit of moral fortitude, perhaps they would deserve our vote the next time they are telling us how hard they are working on our behalf and need our support at the polls, otherwise it's all meaningless political rhetoric.
Without a doubt, the wood fibre issue is complicated but the government did rescind the use of some forests when the Fort Frances mill shut down. There was enough wood fibre to supply the Fort Frances mill prior to closing, so it's only logical that there should be enough to reopen the mill in 2019.
It just seems so unreasonable—and downright stupid—if we can't solve this issue to the benefit of the Ontario taxpayer.
Perhaps the constituents of Thunder Bay-Rainy River should demand the presence of our MP, MPP, and Minister Rickford at a meeting hosted by the Town of Fort Frances and Repap to explain why we, the taxpayer, are being treated as if we are so stupid that we couldn't possibly understand why vacant land would be more desirable than 300 or 400 more jobs, along with hundreds more in spin-off opportunity.
Thunder Bay, Ont.