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May 18, 2018 - Vol. 7 No. 4

June 7 Election

Record Number of Candidates Nominated
to Contest Ontario General Election

June 7 Election
Record Number of Candidates Nominated to Contest Ontario General Election

Speaking Out in Northern Ontario

So-called Major Parties Try to Bribe Indigenous Peoples and Northern Ontarians With What Belongs to Them by Right - David Starbuck
Setting a New Precedent and a High Standard - Bruce McComber
Leaders' Debate in Northern Ontario
Attending the CBC Candidates' Debate - Kaella-Lynn Recollet
Sudburians Voice Concerns Over Plan to Build Ferrochrome Refinery

Coming Events

June 7 Election

Record Number of Candidates Nominated to
Contest Ontario General Election

Nominations in the 2018 Ontario General Election closed at 2:00 pm on May 17. There are 825 officially registered candidates. Of these, 32 are independent candidates and candidates with no affiliation while 793 are running for 28 registered political parties. The Greens, Liberals, New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives all have candidates in each of the 124 electoral districts. The Libertarians have 117 candidates; the None of the Above Direct Democracy Party 43; the Trillium Party 26 and the Ontario Moderate Party 16. Twenty other parties met the threshold of fielding at least two candidates. The number of candidates is a record high. In 2014, there were 616 candidates in 107 constituencies. Of those, 14 were independent candidates with the rest representing 21 registered parties. Removing the increased number of ridings as a factor, there are almost 15 per cent more candidates.

The percentages of candidates who are women for the parties running in all ridings are as follows: NDP -- 56 per cent; Greens -- 52 per cent; Liberals -- 46 per cent; PCs -- 33 per cent.

While the ballot lists the candidates’ party affiliation if they have one, information on how the candidates make their living is not readily available. From the ballot paper, a voter has no information as to the occupation of the candidate -- whether they are a steelworker, nurse, teacher, a person living in poverty or a banker, big businessman, lawyer or merchant.

The increase in candidates, parties and independents since the last election reflects the dissatisfaction of the Ontario electorate with politics-as-usual and their yearning for change that is in the interests of the people.

Summary of Parties and Candidates in
the 42nd Ontario General Election


Party Leader




At Dissolution


Kathleen Wynne                  




Progressive Conservative

Doug Ford




New Democratic

Andrea Horwath





Mike Schreiner



Allen Small


None of the Above

Greg Vezina


Independents and no affiliation






Bob Yaciuk



Ontario Moderate Party

Yuri Duboisky



Paul McKeever



Dave McKee


Consensus Ontario

Brad Harness


Northern Ontario Party

Trevor Holliday


People’s Political Party

Kevin Clarke


Canadians’ Choice Party

Bahman Yazdanfar


Ontario Party

Jason Tysick


Special Needs


Ontario Alliance

William Cook


Cultural Action Party

Brad Salzberg


New People’s Choice Party

Daryl Christoff


Stop the New Sex-Ed Agenda

Queenie Yu


Confederation of Regions


Canadian Economic Party

Patrick Knight


Go Vegan

Paul Figuerias


Multicultural Party of Ontario

Wasyl Luczkiw


Party of Objective Truth

Derrick Matthews



John Turmel


Social Reform Party

Abu Alam


Stop Climate Change

Ken Ranney


Vacant                                                                                                                               4





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So-called Major Parties Try to Bribe Indigenous Peoples and Northern Ontarians With What
Belongs to Them by Right

It never ceases to amaze how amorally the political parties that consider themselves to be contenders to form the next government behave when they want to win a vote or treat people as a mere vote bank. As the Ontario provincial election approaches, the three so-called major parties have started making statements in an effort to get people to vote for them on the basis of what they would do with the proceeds of the Ontario Mining Tax and other resource-based taxes and fees. The fact that the resources are on the traditional territories of the Indigenous peoples and theirs by right and that neither they nor the people of the north are the decision-makers when it comes to deciding how the resources should be used, let alone what taxes and fees are charged to the mining companies and exploiters of those resources, does not seem to faze these "leaders."

On April 18, the Ontario NDP promised to give Indigenous peoples all of the money the province makes from mining tax revenue. Party leader Andrea Horwath did not say what that is or how it is set. She did say that this would amount to about $41 million a year. She says the NDP has long thought that Indigenous peoples should benefit from the resources taken from their traditional lands, which is very condescending given that these lands are their territories in the first place. "That's been a principle that we've held for many, many, many years. And we feel that, should we form government, we should actually live up to that principle and begin to change the circumstances," Horwath said.

Then, on May 2, PC Party leader Doug Ford announced in Timmins that an Ontario PC government would introduce formal resource revenue sharing of provincial revenues collected from aggregate licenses, stumpage fees and the mining tax to ensure Northern Ontario "receives fair benefits from Northern resources." Ford said that $20 to $30 million would be returned to Northern Ontario every year in revenue from mining, forestry and aggregates. Again, what this amount represents compared to the wealth created by the exploitation of these resources is not mentioned. Nor is the fact that all such promises made in treaties in the past have yet to be upheld.

Finally, on May 3, the Ontario Liberal government announced that Ontario has signed resource revenue sharing agreements in mining and forestry with several First Nations. These agreements with the Grand Council Treaty #3, Wabun Tribal Council and Mushkegowuk Council, commit Ontario to sharing 45 per cent of government revenues from forestry stumpage, 40 per cent of the annual mining tax and royalties from active mines at the time the agreements were signed, and 45 per cent from future mines in the areas covered by the agreements. Again, what the taxes are and who sets them is not mentioned.

The claims of the Indigenous peoples stem from the treaties which they signed with the British Crown and the Canadian state. Treaties such as the Robinson-Huron Treaty provide for payments from the Canadian state to the Indigenous peoples. In the case of the Robinson Treaties, these payments of $4 per person per year have not increased since 1874 and the Robinson Treaty signatories have taken the Canadian and Ontario governments to court to have these annuities increased. It is high time the claims of Indigenous peoples for increased revenues from the mineral wealth that they have forsaken are recognized in deeds, not just words.

The claims of the residents of the mining municipalities are also just. These municipalities are not permitted to tax underground mining facilities unlike surface facilities such as manufacturing plants. Mining companies, in recent years, have been pushing to locate facilities underground and are dismantling surface plants in order to avoid municipal taxation. Mining municipalities are provided with a small provincial grant from the revenues of the Mining Tax supposedly to compensate them for the loss of revenue as compared to taxation of manufacturing facilities in non-mining communities.

Revenue from Mining Taxation in Ontario

The fact is that Ontario is the largest mineral producing province in Canada with about 25 per cent of total production, producing more than $10 billion of wealth each year. Mining tax revenues fell from a high of $236 million in 2008 to just $18.6 million in 2014 and were $41 million in 2017. Ontario only received $20 million in royalties from the $2.5 billion in diamonds that were extracted by the De Beers monopoly over six years at Ontario's only diamond mine near Attawapiskat, a desperately impoverished Indigenous community in the James Bay Lowlands. These royalty payments are less than 0.1 per cent of the value of the diamonds extracted by De Beers.

Nominally, profits from Ontario mines are taxed at a rate of 10 per cent, (5 per cent for remote mines, defined as those more than 30 km from an existing road or rail line). However, these profits are subject to a number of exemptions that result in little return to the public from mining in Ontario. The reduction in the Mining Tax for remote mines is an example of these deductions. A large deduction is the 10 year exemption for new mines or major expansions of existing mines. While mining companies can have a history of over one hundred years, individual mines often have a lifespan of less than 10 years and the mining companies that own them often pay little or no Mining Tax.

Furthermore, revenues from the Mining Tax in Ontario are the lowest compared to all Canadian Provinces and Quebec, based on mining tax collected as a percentage of total mine production. In 2012, Saskatchewan had mineral production of $7.1 billion, and mining tax income of $650 million, giving a rate of return to the public from mining production of 9.2 per cent. Ontario had greater mineral production at $7.7 billion but mining tax revenue of only $82 million meaning that only 1.1 per cent of the value of Ontario's mineral production was returned to the public. British Columbia and Quebec, the other two leading mineral producing provinces, have a rate of return to the public from mineral taxation of 5.2 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively. Even though those other jurisdictions charge higher tax rates, the peoples of those places know that, compared to the wealth plundered by the mining and other resource extraction monopolies and because of the number of exemptions provided to them, the entire tax and royalty regime is a real swindle.

But the greatest swindle of all is how the so-called major parties try to bribe the Indigenous peoples and residents of mining communities with what belongs to them by right! And they sow divisions in the communities on the basis of who supports and who opposes the "deals" to boot!

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Setting a New Precedent and a High Standard

The Liberals are notorious liars but, I still wonder what this [the signing of a resource-sharing agreement between the Ontario Government and three Anishinabek tribal councils in northwestern Ontario -- OPF Ed] might mean for the pending decision by the courts on the interpretation/meaning of the Robinson Huron and Robinson Superior annuity clause [resource revenue sharing]!? Should the amount [$4 per person per year] be adjusted for inflation? Did the Crown believe they were signing a resource revenue sharing agreement? And if so, how much are the beneficiaries of those Treaties owed?

Anyone who reads the words and has knowledge of the Anishinabek leaders in the 1850 period knows that they were well informed about many subjects and issues including monetary inflation/deflation! The Fort William First Nation leader Peau de Chat even demanded payment in silver or gold -- and, interestingly enough, the paper money in the U.S. had just gone through a period where it was extremely devalued. The famous Chief Shingwauk wanted an annuity of $30 per person per year and another Chief asked for $100 in the days just preceding the signing of the treaties. The amount of $2 was eventually decided on and Shingwauk was extremely unhappy with the terms of the Treaty even though he did sign. And get this, the Crown argues that the disparity between the high per capita demands of the Anishinabek and what was eventually settled on is a reflection that Anishinabek didn't know the value of money or the concepts of inflation/deflation! I believe it shows the opposite, it shows the Anishinabek did know the value of their land, resources, and money! One thing is for sure, the communities or Anishinabek beneficiaries of these Treaties sure have gotten ripped off in the last 167 years, as with all of the people who helped extract, develop, and ship the resources.

I hope the folks in Treaty 3 or in the Ring of Fire area set a new precedent and high standard for protecting the environment and creating revenue/capital for their peoples! I know mining might not be a perfect or culturally appropriate way to base an Indigenous economy but, if money has to be made, the Indigenous people deserve a good portion of the revenue and the ability to own the mines, plus they ought to own companies that supply the mines.

Bruce McComber is an Anishinabek activist hailing from Wikwemikong Unceded Territory. This article is a slightly edited version of a May 5 post on Facebook.

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Leaders' Debate in Northern Ontario

Northern Ontario is the centre of attention in the early days of the 2018 Ontario general election. On May 10, the second day of the campaign, CBC organized a northeastern Ontario debate for "star candidates" of the three "big-tent" political parties. The next morning, the leaders of the "big-tent" parties held the second leaders' debate of the week at the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) conference in Parry Sound.

Doug Ford, the PC Party leader acts like a bull in a china shop. One thing is sure, his solutions for Northern Ontario are those of the Bay Street elite that he rails against: jump on a bulldozer and ram through development of the Ring of Fire so that the riches of the north can be alienated from the people of the north to get the rich out of their crisis. Kathleen Wynne, the Liberal Party leader, campaigns from the left, as Liberals do, only to govern from the right if re-elected. Andrea Horwath displays knowledge of many of the concerns of the working people of Northern Ontario, in health care, transportation, hydro prices, etc. Her solution, however, is for the working people to be very active in the election campaign to elect the NDP and then to go home once the NDP is elected and let the NDP legislative bureaucracy determine what is to be done and what is not to be done.

Working people must be very active to give voice to their concerns and to formulate the solutions both during, and after, the election. It is the active, conscious participation of the working people in the political process to advance their own interests that is the decisive factor in delivering change for the better.

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Attending the CBC Candidates' Debate

I attended the northeastern Ontario candidates' debate organized by the CBC in Sudbury on May 10. Only three "star candidates" of the three "big-tent" parties were invited to participate. The format was such that the CBC controlled which issues were discussed and which were not. The bulk of the meeting consisted of interviews of five selected voters and then answers from the "star candidates." The last part of the meeting consisted of questions from the audience, but questions that had to be written and submitted to the moderator who then chose the questions asked. While some concerns of the electorate were raised (health care, education, living in poverty, hydro prices and small business), they were only those concerns that the CBC deemed acceptable and worthy of being discussed. At no time could members of the electorate participate directly in the meeting and engage the candidates in discussion. Voters in attendance were reduced to being spectators and not active participants in the political process.

Except for a token acknowledgment that we live on traditional Indigenous territories, there was no mention of any of the concerns of First Nations peoples, despite First Nations people constituting more than 10 per cent of the population of Northern Ontario. There was no discussion of any of the issues facing the working class: health and safety, the minimum wage (except for a complaint from the small business owner), job security and the recognition of rights of all, etc. There was no discussion of the direction of the economy, especially as it concerns the resource industries (mining and forestry) and the proposed development of the Ring of Fire and the lack of manufacturing in Northern Ontario. There was no discussion of the need to renew the political system to empower the working people.

The CBC is a public broadcaster and is largely funded from the public purse. Canadians expect that a public broadcaster serves the public by informing the electorate of the positions of all candidates and all parties on all issues and not just the "star candidates" of the "big-tent" parties and the issues that are acceptable to the establishment.

If the CBC is not fulfilling its mandate of informing the public, it is all the more imperative that the working people in all sectors of the economy take the initiative and find ways to put forward their own concerns and express their own views and aspirations for the future.

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Sudburians Voice Concerns Over Plan to Build Ferrochrome Refinery

Ontarians are coming together to discuss the important issues affecting their lives. On April 28, more than one hundred residents of the City of Greater Sudbury gathered in Coniston, Ontario for a panel discussion and information session on the ferrochrome refinery that Noront Resources is proposing to build on the site of the old Inco (initially Mond) smelter in Coniston, which was demolished fifty years ago. Noront has selected this site as its preferred Sudbury site, one of four potential sites in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins and Thunder Bay. The refinery will process chromite concentrate from the Ring of Fire. In effect, Noront has created a bidding war amongst Northern Ontario cities to host the refinery with its resulting jobs and tax revenues. The discussion was organized by the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury.

The session was chaired by Laurie McGauley of the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury. Panellists included Dr. Stefan Siemann and Dr. Charles Ramcharan, university researchers who outlined the potential environmental and health impacts; Brennain Lloyd, from the environmental protection network Northwatch and Liza Vandermeer, a retired Ministry of Environment and Climate Change staffer, who both gave insight into the environmental review and regulatory process; Stefanie Recollet, environmental coordinator for Wahnapitae First Nation, who provided her community's concerns about the project; and Barb Deschamps, member of No Ferrochrome Sudbury, a group opposed to the smelter.

While Noront is interested in the Coniston site because it is a brownfield and adjacent to major east-west and south rail lines, participants in the discussion were concerned about potential environmental and health hazards, especially the release of by-product chromium-6 or hexavalent chromium, an extremely toxic and carcinogenic substance. "Now, all I see is my little town living directly under a hexavalent chromium particulate fallout zone," Deschamps, a Coniston resident, said. "Our whole town, 2,500 of us, our homes, schools, parks, playgrounds, our golf course, our vegetable gardens, my grandchildren, all less than two-and-a-half kilometres away from the site. We don't need more metal in our environment. We've had enough. I do not believe this belongs next to my town, or any town. I do not believe any possible benefits can outweigh its risk," she said.

Northern Ontario has a long history of industrial projects being developed according to the priorities of the monopolies and with little or no concern for residents of Northern Ontario or the northern environment. Discussions such as this event organized by the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury are an important step in ensuring that industrial development has the free, prior and informed consent of those who are affected by the development.

(With files from The Sudbury Star)

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Coming Events

Upcoming Discussions and Meetings


All Candidates’ Meeting on Health Care:
Who Wins, Who Loses?
Tuesday, May 22 -- 6:45 pm
School of Social Work, Pitt & Ferry

How to Ensure the Voice of Workers Is Heard in the Ontario Election

Round Table Meeting
Sunday, May 27 -- 1:00-4:00 pm

547 Victoria Ave.
Hosted by OSSTF District 9 Greater Essex


Discussion on the Ontario Election and the Role Workers
Can Play to Turn Things Around in Their Favour
Sunday, May 20 -- 1:00-4:00 pm
USW Local 1005 Union Hall, 340 Kenilworth Ave N

Organized by the Workers' Centre of CPC(M-L)


Town Hall on Public Services and Privatization
Tuesday, May 22 -- 7:00-9:00 pm
Mississauga Valley Community Centre,
1275 Mississauga Valley Blvd. Program Room 1


Workplace Violence in Ontario Hospitals
Tuesday, May 22 -- 11:00 am
  Institute for Work & Health - 481 University Ave, Ste 800, Toronto
Organized by Institute for Work and Health
Further information email Albana Canga, acanga@iwh.on.ca

Community All Candidates Forum
Saturday, May 26 -- 5:00-7:00 pm
Oakridge Community Centre, 63 Pharmacy Ave
Women leaders in the community will present their concerns after
which  candidates will be given time to respond.

Organized by: South Asian Women's Rights Organization

We Own It! Townhall
Thursday, May 24 -- 7:00 pm
519 Church St Community Centre


Town Hall on Public Services
Wednesday, May 30 -- 7:00-9:00 pm
  Malvern Community Recreation Centre, 5183 Sheppard Ave E

Ontario Election Forum on Health Care
Wednesday, May 23 -- 7:00-9:00 pm
  PSAC Building, JK Wyllie Boardroom, 233 Gilmour St
Organized by Ontario Health Coalition
For Information
click here

2018 Justice for Injured Workers Bike Ride

Elliott Lake

Seminar -- Occupational Disease in Mining and
McIntyre Powder Research

Friday, May 25 -- 1:00-4:00 pm
Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre Theatre

Inaugural Reception
Friday, May 25 -- 7:00-9:00 pm
Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre Theatre

Jim Hobbs Memorial Ride & Presentation
Saturday, May 26 -- 7:00 am-3:00 pm
Ride from Elliot Lake Miners' Memorial Park on Highway 108 North
to Massey and District Arena, 455 Government St.

Occupational Disease: The Other Workplace Fatality
Sunday, May 27 -- 4:00 pm
USW Hall, 66 Brady St 

Organized by Ontario Network of Injured Workers' Groups.
For information on all Justice Bike Ride events
click here.

Click on image to download PDF

June 1 Injured Workers' Day

Overnight Vigil and Cultural Program
Thursday, May 31 -- 4:00 pm
Queen's Park.

Rally at Queen's Park and March
Friday, June 1 -- 11:00 am

Candidates' Townhall Meeting
Friday, June 1 -- 2:00-4:00 pm
OCAD, Auditorium -- 100 McCaul St., Room 190

Organized by Ontario Network of Injured Workers' Groups

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