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Mayor Disappointed With Decision to Cancel Northern Consultations

April 8, 2011 – Mayor Keith Hobbs says he does not agree with Monday’s decision by the provincial government to reject holding forest tenure consultations in Northern and rural Ontario on Bill 151, an Act to enact the Ontario Forest Tenure Modernization Act and to amend the Crown Forest Sustainability Act.

The meetings will be held in Toronto, April 11 and 13. These are the final hearings before the legislation goes to third reading. A recommendation to stage hearings in Pembroke, Timmins, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie was denied.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for Northern communities like Thunder Bay to have an opportunity to present our concerns directly to the government when it comes to bills that directly affect us,” said Mayor Hobbs.

“I am extremely frustrated that the provincial government has excluded us from the hearings, and limited them to Toronto.”

The act, as written, will permanently open Ontario’s forests to international competition under its North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization commitments.

“I strongly believe that we should have equal opportunity to voice our concerns on legislation that will have long-lasting and dramatic consequences in Northern Ontario, and I join other Mayors in urging the province to include Northern Ontario for any hearings.” said Mayor Hobbs.

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Contact: Keith Hobbs, Mayor, 625-3600