Joseph LeBlanc – Call for Democracy

Ontario Politics

Ontario PoliticsTHUNDER BAY – Politics – Across this vast province, Ontarians find themselves faced with the ability to vote for their representative of choice by riding. The 107 Ontario ridings are based on population, vary widely in size, and create a great displacement of power between the north and south. Despite accounting for 87% of the province’s landmass, Northern Ontarians are divided into only 7 ridings. Our riding, Thunder Bay-Superior North, is over 80 000 km2, a landmass that is greater than 133 independent nations! In this massive riding there are many very diverse needs, assets, and opportunities. Our region has tremendous natural and social capital greatly impacted by the results of the upcoming election.

Today, the leaders of only 2 provincial parties will debate issues related to
Northern Ontario and they have come bearing the usual promises of jobs and
opportunities, while professing a genuine respect and concern for the region. Not only was there a fee to attend this sold out sole northern debate, I’ve learned that in fact many of the tickets have been purchased by the participant parties and offered to party loyalists free of charge. On June 5th, three of the six candidates from Thunder Bay Superior North have been invited to answer questions on “business issues of concern to Chamber members”. Not only will this forum take place in front of another paying crowd, it will also take place outside the boundaries of our riding. As the Green Party of Ontario candidate, I have received a number of calls from concerned citizens about the lack of access to these events. In my opinion, these two tightly controlled productions are greatly lacking in transparency and are a sad reflection of the state of politics and the democratic process in Northern Ontario.

To date there are zero opportunities for all candidates to openly answer questions directly from voters in Thunder Bay Superior North free of charge. In ridings across the province, candidates are participating in multiple inclusive and free-of-charge forums organized and hosted by a variety of academic institutions, local associations, or media outlets. As a life-long resident of Northern Ontario, I am deeply disturbed by the lack of opportunity for participation by all candidates and leaders, and all Northern Ontarians, in 2014. I feel a free and open debate is a necessary component of the democratic process and would like to publicly confirm my availability for a debate that’s free to attend and open to all candidates and voters somewhere within the bounds of our riding between May 28th and June 3rd. I encourage anyone willing to host such a forum to do so in the name of democracy.

Joseph LeBlanc
Green Party of Ontario Candidate
Thunder Bay-Superior North welcomes commentary from registered candidates from major parties.

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