NI 43-101 Update (September 2012): 11.1 Mt @ 1.68% Ni, 0.87% Cu, 0.89 gpt Pt and 3.09 gpt Pd and 0.18 gpt Au (Proven & Probable Reserves) / 8.9 Mt @ 1.10% Ni, 1.14% Cu, 1.16 gpt Pt and 3.49 gpt Pd and 0.30 gpt Au (Inferred Resource)

Message: Sudbury students question premier


Sudbury students question premier

By Jim Moodie, The Sudbury Star

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 1:08:43 EST AM

Premier Kathleen Wynne, along with Sudbury MPP Energy Minister Glenn Thibault, take part in a student discussion at Cambrian College on Monday. Wynne also toured Laurentian University and College Boreal. Gino Donato/Sudbury Star/Postmedia Network





Premier Kathleen Wynne heard many examples Monday of First Nations students finding a warm welcome at Cambrian College.

She also heard development in First Nations territory might not be so welcome -- especially if it compromises wildlife and water sources.

"I grew up with the land, hunting and trapping," said Jack Linklater Jr., a first-year student from Attawapiskat. "My concern with the Ring of Fire is it will affect the environment and the animals."

Wynne, making her third campus stop of the day in Sudbury, told a town hall at Cambrian she canoed the Attawapiskat River shortly after becoming premier, and appreciates the need to preserve the area's wilderness.

"I don't want damage to the land," she said. "But at the same time, there are a lot of people in those Matawa communities in the North who need that economic development, and who also need all-weather roads, because it's not as cold as it used to be and the (winter) roads don't stay as long."

The key is to "find a balance," she said, noting her government has been engaged in lengthy talks with First Nations to make sure the Ring of Fire proceeds in a way that respects their rights and needs.

"You'll hear in the election campaign over the next few months our opposition saying: 'Why is it taking so long?'" she said. "The reason is, we've been working with First Nations communities who are knowledgeable about that land."

Acknowledging Attiwapiskat is downstream of the Ring of Fire, Wynne said it is essential to not repeat mistakes of the past, such as the mill site near Grassy Narrows First Nation "that spoiled and tainted the water system."

The premier was also challenged regarding the lengthy strike at Cambrian that kept students out of class until late November and pushed back the start of the second semester.

Kyle Vaughan, a student in power engineering from Walkerton, said a few adjustments were made to the college calendar, but not enough to compensate for the lost time.

"I just don't feel like I'm getting the same education as I would have without a strike," he said. "I know the strike had to happen, but I believe it could have ended earlier."

Wynne agreed students were hurt by the labour disruption -- "I can't pretend as if it was good for you," she said -- and pledged to find ways to prevent post-secondary strikes from dragging on in the future.

"I believe in the collective bargaining process and that process had to happen," she said. "The challenge is it went on for so long. And that's why we've set up a task force to look at what went wrong there. Why couldn't there have been a resolution sooner?"

She said the government "only stepped in when there wasn't going to be a resolution," implementing back-to-work legislation after the strike stretched beyond a month. "And you're right, it would have been much better for all of you if there hadn't been a strike."

It was diverse bunch that met with Wynne to ask questions and share their college experience.

Along with Indigenous students from Wikwemikong, Moose Factory and Attawapiskat, there were international students from India, Jamaica and Honduras.

The latter, a project management student, said he fell a couple of weeks ago while skating and broke his elbow, but still isn't regretting his decision to study in Northern Ontario. After graduating, "I would like to stay here if possible," he said.

Wynne also met with clients of the Glenn Crombie Centre, which provides supports to students with disabilities and learning challenges.

MacKenzie Mayes, a public relations student, said the centre has been of great help to her.

"I access basically all the services here," she said. "I know everyone and everyone is so friendly."

She said she visits the centre almost every day, in part because her locker is nearby, but finds its services most useful at the beginning of a semester. "I'm visually impaired, and need to have textbooks enlarged," she said. "Everything is very timely and well-organized."

Heather Doyle, another Crombie Centre beneficiary, said she's had a connection to the centre since 2003, when she first attended Cambrian to study hospitality services. She worked for a while and then came back, this time for the personal support worker program.

"They provide me a counsellor for my anxiety, which has allowed me to be able to open up and have a job," she said. "If it wasn't for this building, I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am. It's like a safety blanket -- when you are having a bad day, the Crombie Centre is somewhere you can go, it's always a safe zone."

Wynne said she was struck by the support structures but also the cultural mix at Cambrian, where Aboriginal students account for about 18 per cent of the student body, and international students are nearly as numerous.

"The diversity of the student population here is really inspiring," she said. "As an Ontarian born and bred, I always remind myself that apart from Indigenous people, we all come from somewhere else. You might have come six months ago, and I might have come six generations ago, but we're in the same boat."

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