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Sudbury's mining supply and services sector key: Robinson

Green Party candidate would also champion cross-laminated timbered production facility in Sudbury

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The Star invited the major candidates running in Sudbury and Nickel Belt for the Sept. 20 federal election to respond to five campaign issues posed by the newspaper. Today, David Robinson, who is running for the Green Party in Sudbury, responds.

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Q: What would you do to support Laurentian University and its formerly affiliated schools (University of Sudbury, Thorneloe University and Huntington University)?

Q: The federal government can:

– Invest in the mining and mining supply and services research at Laurentian. This is good climate policy and good economics, since Canada is a major metal and skill exporter in the mining area, and because the world desperately needs the metals to get off fossil fuels. It can also pressure and bribe the province to make Laurentian Ontario’s champion for mining engineering. These are national goals and fall within federal jurisdiction.

– It can also boost the environmental research programs at LU, with a mandate to focus on emerging issues of the Boreal shield. These are of national interest and LU is a natural champion.

– It can support the Francophone community in its campaign for a French university. This would be better for LU and would significantly strengthen the Francophone community of Northern Ontario. This falls within federal jurisdiction.

– The federal government could purchase some of the LU lands to protect them. This could be justified by declaring the lands a national research site for exploring the impact of climate change and urbanization.

If I were in a position of influence, I would push all of these and more targeted and strategic moves. I don’t think we should pretend that the federal government will do any of these things without strong community pressure.

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Q: What would you do to create new, sustainable jobs in the Sudbury area?

A: I would promote the mining supply and services sector. Sustainable jobs need to be based on a strong export market and the sector has a growing market opportunity. A growing export sector will have multiplier impacts on the community.

I would also actively push for a cross-laminated timbered production facility in Sudbury. This is a technology that will grow and without action, the factories will be built in the south.

Q: How would you support Sudbury’s mining sector?

A: You need to be clear that it is not the “mining sector” that has growth prospects and needs support: it is the mining supply and services sector.

I would add to the NRS a special program for promoting research in the mining supply and services sector, develop a strategy to rebuild Canada’s metallurgical sciences, fund geothermal demonstration projects in the city, and fund local firms to do research programs in small-scale drilling for ground-source heat pump technology.

Q: How would you help Sudbury cope with its opioids crisis?

A: This is not an easy problem because it is actually a collection of different crises. It is almost impossible to control the illegal supply of new synthetic opioids and that leaves legalization and harm-reduction strategies as the first defence. After that, we have to look at how people become vulnerable to some of the roots are in family problems, some in our failure to provide decent entry-level jobs, some in workplace injuries and inadequate pain control systems, some in the lack of decent housing for people who are down on their luck.

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This is actually a provincial responsibility, however, and any promises that candidates make are pretty questionable.

Q: Other than the issues already mentioned, if elected, what are your top three priorities for Sudbury?

My priorities remain:

– Promoting the mining supply and services sector and value-added timber.

– Convincing governments and local politicians to Sudbury and Laurentian the province’s champion in all things related to mining research and mining supply, as well as spinoffs such as geothermal heat.

– Municipal decarbonization.

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @SudburyStar

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