THUNDER BAY – Candidate’s Ledger – I’m pleased to be part of Candidate’s Forum here at NetNewsLedger—thanks to the NNL team and to James Murray for providing this opportunity for constituents to learn more about the candidates in the upcoming election on October 6th. I have always believed it’s important not only to vote, but to make an informed choice about who should be your voice in Queen’s Park for Thunder Bay-Superior North.
It’s a tremendous honour for me to, once again, be the provincial Liberal candidate for this great riding of ours. I have spent virtually my entire life working for the people of Thunder Bay-Superior North. And for my first column, I’d like to share a little bit about my lifelong commitment to this riding.
Thunder Bay has always been my home. I was born here in 1949 and attended Corpus Christi School and Port Arthur Collegiate Institute, and it was during high school that I first got involved with politics.
I worked on many election campaigns for the late Honourable Robert Andras, Liberal MP, and worked for several years at the grass-roots level as his constituency assistant. I then moved to Ottawa as a Special Assistant to Mr. Andras during his time as a Minister in Pierre Trudeau’s Cabinet. That hands-on experience—and education—is something I take with me every day in my duties as your MPP. Mr. Andras taught me to always remember that my fundamental work is to represent your interests in the Legislature, and to listen and advocate for you, my constituents!
From 1981 to 1986, I worked for the CBC and worked in radio news, TV sports and as a publicist. My first involvement with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines came right afterwards, when I was Co-ordinator of Northern Development Councils from 1987 to 1993, here in Thunder Bay. (As you can imagine, I had no idea then that one day, I would be the Minister of that department, with the Forestry portfolio added to it!) In ’93, I returned to politics as Special Assistant to then-federal MP Joe Comuzzi in this riding, until my own election to the provincial legislature in 1995.
And since that first term in 1995, it has been my privilege to serve the people of this riding! I’ve always believed that this job – this vocation, if you will – requires nothing less than a 100 percent commitment. I have spent the past 16 years giving 100 percent every day in order to build a stronger, more prosperous Thunder Bay-Superior North.
I promised to work towards four-laning the TransCanada Highway between Thunder Bay and Nipigon, and I’m proud to say that construction is now well underway, with a firm commitment in place to four-lane the entire 100 kilometre stretch. I promised to fight for insulin pumps for all Ontarians with Type II diabetes – and that is now a reality. I promised to build better education for our riding – and we have the new Lakehead University Faculty of Law, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, a new high school (Superior Collegiate Institute) and full-day kindergarten in many of our schools. I promised to build better health and long-term care – and we have the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, an angioplasty clinic that’s expanding, family health teams and a nurse-practitioner clinic in Thunder Bay, a new Seniors’ Centre of Excellence soon to be built in the city and a new long-term care facility now open in Terrace Bay. I promised to help build a new knowledge-based economy – and we have a burgeoning medical research sector, the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE), and many other technology and research-based enterprises growing and thriving. I promised to put our wood back to work and support our forest sector – and we have seen the reopening of Terrace Bay Pulp, the brand-new Global Sticks operation, and the continued success of our local Abitibi-Bowater plant. I promised to carefully manage our new opportunities with the Ring of Fire, and we are all hoping to see the first mine there possibly ready to open within five years, with a significant training program put into place now so that Aboriginal and Northern workers can get those good-paying jobs in the future.
There’s no question, there’s more work to do. And looking back at all we’ve achieved, I feel more committed than ever to seeing it through – it’s not the time to back off one bit! We have a great future in Thunder Bay-Superior North, and I want, as your elected representative, to keep building and to see that great future come to pass. I hope I can count on your support!
Michael Gravelle MPP
Thunder Bay Superior North Liberal candidate
Keep up-to-date on the latest from the campaign by following me on Facebook, and on Twitter @michaelgravelle.