THUNDER BAY – Leaders Ledger – On Friday August 31st, I had the pleasure of announcing, along with my colleague Michael Gravelle, the Northern Policy Institute, to be located at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and Laurentian University in Sudbury. Predictably, Sarah Campbell, NDP MPP for Kenora-Rainy River rushed in quickly to offer her criticisms.
In her haste to negatively portray this announcement she has completely missed the mark – in fact, criticizing the very people she was elected to represent, the people and organizations that had asked us to move forward on this initiative.
Funded with $5 million from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, the Northern Policy Institute was not a Liberal Government policy position or initiative. It was in fact a request from Northerners, the very people Ms. Campbell would have you believe we are ignoring.
The Northern Ontario Municipal Association or NOMA representing municipalities in Northwestern Ontario, including those in Ms. Campbell’s riding, asked our Government to establish this Institute as part of our Northern Growth Plan. Other organizations including the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, North Superior Workforce Planning Board, Common Voice Northwest and individuals interested in Northern issues all asked our government to create and fund this policy research centre. Many individual municipalities as well would continually lobby to see this Centre become a reality. It is in fact these organizations and the people that they represent that Ms. Campbell has criticized – not our Liberal government – when she refers to this announcement as a public relations exercise.
While we realize that it is the role of opposition to critique Government announcements, Ms. Campbell’s comments require a response. Far from ignoring the concerns of Northerners, as she would have you believe, our Government over the course of the last nine years has brought massive levels of investment to our communities. Northerners asked for the N.P.I. and we were happy to be able to deliver it on their behalf.
MPP Thunder Bay Atikokan
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines
MPP Thunder Bay Superior North
Minister of Natural Resources