THUNDER BAY — The new Delta Hotel at Marina Park in Thunder Bay is the scene for a lot of political discussions this week. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has brought the entire Official Opposition to Thunder Bay for a week of caucus meetings, saying Doug Ford has turned his back on Northwestern Ontario, and an action plan is needed to keep the region at the top of the agenda.
Speaking with media this morning the NDP leader faced a wide range of topics, including Bombardier, the forest industry and Fort Frances, the issue of drinking water advisories in the North, the homeless shelter situation in Kenora, among a list of topics.
“This region has seen powerful economic growth, in a beautiful setting,” said Horwath. “It’s a place where families look out for each other and protect the promise of an even better future for the next generation. But over the last year, a lot of challenges that Northwest Ontario faces have been taken from bad to worse.
“Hardworking folks have seen their jobs put on the chopping block, including hundreds of workers at Bombardier. Doug Ford was part of the problem, failing to get procurement for transit vehicles moving, but when the layoff notices came down, Ford turned his attention to Thunder Bay just long enough to play politics and blame the federal government, then quickly turned his back on Northwestern Ontario again.”
Horwath also pointed to Ford’s cuts to public health and childcare, which come into effect on Jan. 1, as well as his cuts to education and to poverty reduction efforts, including the basic income pilot project and planned OW and ODSP increases.
The fallout from Ford’s cuts to public health and childcare in Thunder Bay are not yet known, with municipalities grappling with the choice to cut those critical services or charge a Ford Tax to maintain them.
“People deserve better when it comes to jobs and opportunity, healthcare, and the opioid and mental health crisis,” said Horwath.
“I’m here to partner with Thunder Bay, and I hope to leave here with action plans to keep Northwest Ontario at the top of the agenda,” said Horwath.
On Thursday, the Official Opposition will host a community lunch to hear from the frontlines of manufacturing, health care, education, labour, municipal government and other sectors critical to the Thunder Bay region.