Premier visits Sarnia-Lambton area

Wynne speaks to Great Lakes group and Chamber members, sandwiched with expanded Courtright business

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne spent a good portion of her Thursday in the Sarnia-Lambton area, speaking to two groups and visiting a plant in Courtright.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who has been criticized for her lack of physical presence in the area, corrected that seeming deficiency on Thursday.

She began the day with remarks to representatives attending the Annual General Meeting of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a bi-national coalition of more than 110 communities (Sarnia included) working to protect and restore the ecology of an area said represents some 40 million people living in Canada and the U.S.

Wynne defended her government’s push to become as carbon neutral as possible, citing the closure of coal-fired electrical generation facilities (like the Lambton Generating Station) and its teaming up with Quebec on a “cap and trade” system that still hasn’t been fully costed.

The Premier spoke to a group that exists to help protect one of the world’s largest freshwater watersheds, so her message was far from controversial.

From there, she went south, visiting CF Industries, which announced it will be spending $105 million to “debottleneck” the plant. Completion of that project will occur in 2017 after the plant undergoes a scheduled turnaround.

In 2005 CF Industries bought Terra, the company that had bought the former ICI fertilizer plant in 1993.

Wynne, who toured the plant, said the expansion was a “vote of confidence in Ontario,” although there are no new jobs being created as a result of the investment. The project is said to be the result of a worldwide demand for its products, including fluid needed by the trucking industry to meet new environmental exhaust regulations.

Wynne’s final stop in the area was to speak to members of the Sarnia Lambton of Chamber of Commerce.

Her remarks included defending what has seen by some to be a “GTA centric” view (Wynne represents a Toronto-area riding). Wynne said investments in infrastructure are being made proportionately by population.

She defended some of her government’s decisions, including those dealing with pension reform, the partial sale of assets such as Hydro One and the cap and trade initiative.

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