John Rafferty has made an important decision for the North


John Rafferty MPTHUNDER BAY – Editorial – Thunder Bay Atikokan MP John Rafferty appears to have made some serious decisions over the summer. Today, Rafferty shared that “improving public safety for first nation youth, on and off reserve, will continue to be a major focus of his work in Ottawa over the next four years”.

That is the kind of decision that demonstrates a dedication, and political maturity that will bode well for Rafferty in the future.

Often it appears, elected representatives arrive on Parliament Hill, or Queen’s Park, and get very caught up in the politics of the place. It can be very consuming, almost addictive.

It can, and often does it appears take over their politicial careers. The party, the partisanship and being in the places of power become a focal point and sometimes seems to take over the reasons that the representative was elected in the first place.

Many politicians, after they are out of political life wonder was it all worth it. The ones who stake out issues and strive to make a difference are the elected representatives who are remembered, and in many cases make the biggest difference in society.

Rafferty has choosen an area that needs work here in Northern Ontario. It is also an area that isn’t very politically sexy. Rafferty has choosen a focus that is going to take hard work, long hours, and a lot of dedication. It is a good move for the MP to take. It is an area one also hopes that he will be able to connect with Kenora MP Greg Rickford who has spent years working in the North.

Solving the epidemic of Aboriginal suicide is not a partisan issue, it is an issue of caring, compassion and of ensuring our region’s future as sure as the Ring of Fire is seen as an economic bounty.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, speakers from the Conservatives, New Democrats, and Liberals all spoke on the issue of a national strategy to prevent suicide. In Northwestern Ontario communities, the suicide rates, especially Aboriginal youth suicide rates are at what has been called epidemic rates. It is something that needs to be talked about, worked on and solved.

Rafferty has choosen a path that likely years from now, long after he has left the House of Commons will be an issue he will be proud of the stand he is taking right now.

Politicians leave office, either by their choice or by the choice of voters and often spend their days wondering what they really accomplished.

John Rafferty has choosen to work on something important.

James Murray

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