Ontario PC candidate tells local news outlet Doug Ford is not ‘aware of the process’ surrounding Ring of Fire development
Sounds like Ontario PC candidates are having trouble explaining Doug Ford’s plans in Northern Ontario.
Take Derek Parks, for example: a member of the Ontario PC executive and candidate for Thunder Bay–Superior North, Parks struggled this weekend when asked to clarify details of Ford’s plans for the proposed Ring of Fire development.
Last month, Ford said he would “stop talking” with local First Nations communities and vowed to “hop on a bulldozer” to clear a road through First Nations territory himself – a foolhardy idea that would tie Ford up in pointless lawsuits for years.
In an interview with NetNewsLedger, a local news outlet based in Thunder Bay, the PC candidate had a hard time explaining how Ford’s plan to drive a bulldozer across traditional Indigenous lands squares with the reality of how the process works.
Responding to a question seeking more details on Ford’s plans for the Ring of Fire, Parks qualified his answer by reminding the local news reporter that his party’s leader comes from Toronto:
“I think what we’ve got is we’ve got a leader of a provincial party who is very well known in the 416, 905.”
Then, revealingly, Parks let slip Ford is not fully “aware of the process” or how it all works:
“I also realize that as he becomes aware of the process, you know, we’re pretty close to getting there right now, I feel, but I mean, we’ll see what the election brings.”
Unlike his leader, Parks did acknowledge “various tribal councils around the area” need to be partners in the development and admitted construction is already “pretty close” to getting started, regardless of whether Ford hops on a bulldozer or not – road construction could begin as early as next year.
The Ontario PC candidate actually echoes a recent editorial from the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal criticizing Ford because “a bulldozer is not a plan.”
Last month, the newspaper compared the “Toronto-centric Ford” to Donald Trump, pointing to his “bombastic rhetoric” and “simplistic references to the Ring of Fire.”
As the Chronicle Journal pointed out, Ford’s talk about the Ring of Fire is gibberish since construction of a road was put off because a mining company withdrew from the development after global commodity prices dropped. Besides, Ford’s plan to “run rough-shod over First Nations” would only create more problems than it solves:
“It is a complex file and will continue to be so. Anyone who suggests otherwise hasn’t done their homework.”
And it seems Ford hasn’t done much homework.
In recent weeks, Ford put his MPP in Sault Ste. Marie in an awkward spot after he accepted an invitation to give a keynote at a pricey Toronto soirée where a mining company was set to announce it was building a new processing plant for Ring of Fire minerals in the United States – not Ontario.
Ford’s team scrambled to walk that one back too.