Kathleen Wynne, it now seems, toured Northern Ontario for one reason and one reason only: to throw money at every problem she encounters. Her six-day visit around the North came amidst growing unrest in the region, and some of the measures she announced during the trip seem inadequate to address the complex problems that the Liberal government is facing there.
Northern Ontario presents challenges for Wynne and her Liberal associates that are far more troubling than anything she can ever experience in the cozy comforts of Toronto. There’s a growing divide between the North and the South amid concerns that the South’s leadership probably doesn’t have the North’s best interests at heart. Some of the frustration against the government is manifesting in the form of the growing popularity of the separatist Northern Ontario Party which may present a challenge to Ontario’s entire political establishment.
But Wynne has a simple solution. With enough spending, everything would be all right. Perhaps this is why she announced more than $500 million in collective government investments. “It’s really important the people in the north see me,” she told the media while explaining the purpose of her trip, “and that they understand that I’m serious about these investments.”
However, some commentators believe that the only reason for her trip was to do the groundwork for an upcoming huge visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and some of his cabinet. If that is the true reason for the spending, then it means the Liberals spent $500 million just because it was safe for the Prime Minister to visit Northern Ontario.
Whatever the reasons for the trip may be, this trip did little to assuage the worries and concerns of Northern Ontarians. In the words of Conservative leader Patrick Brown:
“Even after Premier Wynne’s whirlwind tour, one thing remains clear: for the people of Northern Ontario, life is harder under the Wynne Liberals.”