THUNDER BAY – Northern Ontario’s six New Democrat MPs calling on the region’s Conservative representatives to stand with them in defending fair representation for the region. They are introducing a Private Member’s Bill guaranteeing Northern Ontario its current number of seats if the riding boundaries are redrawn.
“Many ridings in Northern Ontario are already bigger than some European countries,” said John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River). “We don’t need to make it any harder for constituents to get to their MP’s offices, or to weaken their voice. We’re looking for the region’s Conservatives to support our NDP bill, introduced by my colleague Claude Gravelle, to ensure Northern Ontario doesn’t lose any more seats.”
The 2011 census has shown that population in the region has dropped. There have been concerns raised that in the Kenora riding almost 9,000 people on First Nations communities were not counted in the census. A source shares with NetNewsledger.com “Here are the reserves that were enumerated in 2006 but not in 2011, in Kenora riding: Pikangikum #14 had 2,100 residents in 2006; Fort Hope #64 had 1,144 residents in 2006. Weagamow Lake #87 had 700; residents in 2006; Poplar Hill had 457 residents in 2006; Sachigo Lake #1 had 450 residents in 2006; Webequie had 614 residents in 2006; Wunnumin 1 had 487 residents in 2006; Neskantaga had 265 residents in 2006; Bearskin Lake had 459 residents in 2006; Kasabonika Lake had 681 residents in 2006; Kingfisher Lake #1 had 415 residents in 2006; and Wawakapewin (Long Dog Lake) had 21 residents in 2006. Also, Summer Beaver is not a reserve but did
not get enumerated this time; it had 362 residents in 2006.
That’s 8,155 people (based in 2006 figures) who will not be considered when the Northwestern Ontario boundaries are set by the Boundaries Commission.
The census reported Kenora has 55,977 people, down from 64,291 in 2006. Conservative MP Greg Rickford is the elected representative for the Kenora Riding.
The NDP MPs said, “Under the government’s redistribution legislation, Ontario will go from 106 to 121 seats in the House of Commons, while B.C. and Alberta get 5 additional seats each and Quebec 3. It is expected that many of Ontario’s new seats will go to Toronto’s fast-growing 905 region. The MPs argue that although the North dropped from 11 to 10 seats in the 2004 redistribution, the average population of Ontario ridings will be lower this time because of the 15 new seats added to the province”.
“Today, New Democrats are drawing a line in the sand,” said Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior North). “We will fight, tooth and nail, any attempt to weaken Northern Ontario’s voice. Our region is unique for many reasons including culture, history, economy, and geography. The people of Northern Ontario will not accept any loss of representation, especially considering Ontario as a whole is gaining 15 seats. The people of Northern Ontario deserve to be heard, and I am asking our region’s Conservatives to join us and stand up to defend Northern Ontario’s representation in the House of Commons.”