Hyer on the Hill – “Ski jumps aside, it has been quite the ride!”

OTTAWA – Earlier this month I spent a fantastic week visiting some of the many communities across our riding of Thunder Bay-Superior North. It’s a spectacular riding covering more than 82,000 square kilometres …about the same size as Ireland. I held meetings and public Town Halls in various places, including Longlac, where I had an unusual experience.

Near the centre of town is a rail crossing that was recently altered, making it quite the ski jump. The locals know about it, but I didn’t and my little car became airborne going over it. When it came down, splitting the oil pan, it left an oil stripe down the main street, and an oil spill when I parked.  I had to be in another town the next day for another Town Hall meeting, and expected my week’s schedule to be in shambles.

Then a small town with a big heart came to the rescue. Jim and Frank from the small computer store helped clean up my oil spill, and called around for repair possibilities.  Marilyn and Claude from the Ran-Dan motel helped in many ways, Lindsey from Matawa shuttled us to meetings, and most dramatic of all were the men from Kal Tire. They hand pushed my car into their shop, combed the region for parts, had them rushed overnight, and came in early to make the repairs.  Owner Robert Beaudoin even lent me his truck to get around.

Before I could finish the hearty and delicious breakfast served to me by a cheery Claire at the Pizza Place, my car had completed its autumn oil change, and was ready to get me on my way. What I was sure would take days was accomplished in hours. The whole experience goes to show that Longlac, like many of our small resource-dependent towns in Northwestern Ontario, has a really big heart. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved our region, and meeting the incredible people in it.

It’s been two years since the citizens of Thunder Bay-Superior North elected me to represent you in Ottawa. Ski jumps aside, it has been quite the ride!  Lots of learning.  Conflicts and collaborating.  Parliament prorogued twice.  And lots and lots of hard work.

According to the statisticians in the Library of Parliament, in two action-packed years I seem to have introduced more legislation than any single MP in the history of this riding …and even more than all the previous MPs from here put together.

Some of my legislation working its way through Parliament includes:

• C-312:  the Made in Canada Act: would mandate at least 50% Canadian content for all federally-funded projects.

• C-560: the Cell Phone Freedom Act would force cell phone companies to unlock client cell phones, and increase choice and competition in the wireless market.

• M-291:  to return passenger rail service to Thunder Bay and the Lake Superior North Shore.

• C-311: the Climate Change Accountability Act sets targets, timetables and government accountability for reducing our greenhouse gas pollution and catch up to other countries in creating the economy and jobs of the future.

• M-532: a motion regarding ethical investments by the Canada Pension Plan.

• M-531: a motion to provide tax and other incentives to encourage medical professionals to live and work in rural areas.

No wonder the last two years have zoomed by! Many of these bills and motions came about because you, my constituents, asked me to take an issue on.  This is another reason why talking to constituents is the best part of my job.  There’s a lot to concern people right now, so please join me in upcoming Town Hall meetings to talk about the rising cost of living (or anything else):

Terrace Bay – 8:00pm Monday, November 8

Community Centre (Conference Room), 1 Selkirk Ave.

Marathon – 7:00pm Tuesday, November 9

Royal Canadian Legion, 37 Howe St.

Nipigon – 6:00pm Wednesday, November 10

Community Centre, 138 Wadsworth Ave.

See you there.

Bruce Hyer, MP